Report: Heat’s Rodney McGruder out 3-6 months with leg injury

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After going undrafted out of Kansas State in 2013, Rodney McGruder climbed into the NBA last season. With the Heat, he even worked his way into the starting lineup and appeared likely to keep his job at small forward this season.

But this is a devastating setback.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The 26-year-old McGruder is in his prime earning years, but he’s so cheap – partially guaranteed at the minimum this season, unguaranteed at the minimum next season – the Heat will probably keep him. They’ll just have to adjust their rotation and hope this isn’t a season-ender.

McGruder balanced the starting lineup, comprised of other players more comfortable with the ball in their hands. He just made enough open 3-pointers to stay on the court, where he focused on playing rugged defense. Without him, Miami must adjust to a new dynamic.

Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow are in line for more minutes at small forward now. Richardson is the far better shooter, but there will be diminishing returns on his playmaking while sharing the court with Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters. Winslow brings defense, but his shooting is a liability.

Trickling down, Wayne Ellington, Tyler Johnson, Waiters and Dragic can collectively cover the minutes Richardson would have spent in the backcourt.

Miami is built to withstand this loss. It’s still a bummer, though.