The Miami Heat, despite their core being patched together relatively quickly, are far from the youngest team in the NBA, which poses a problem when it comes to injury. It is no surprise that the NBA grind can take a major toll on the body of a player, and some veterans have been battling this grueling schedule for over 10 years.
Few players go through their entire career without any serious injuries, as basketball is quite the physical sport.
The Miami Heat faced many physical ailments, albeit minor, last season but still managed to capture the elusive Larry O'Brien Trophy. However, the rise of the Eastern Conference with the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers, along with the elder Boston Celtics, will definitely pose challenges for the defending champions.
Nonetheless, staying healthy needs to be a goal for this squad. In a league filled with uncertainty and talent, health is one of the larger question marks that can be the difference between a first-round exit and a second title.
Let's hope Miami heeds this warning.
Dexter Pittman has struggled staying healthy in his short tenure in the NBA, and this year is no exception. The former Texas star, who isn't predicted to see major minutes this season with the defending champions, started this season on the inactive list with a hamstring injury.
The injury isn't considered to be serious, though.
Much like Pittman, Anthony was sidelined for the season opener due to a hamstring injury. This physical ailment is far from serious, but there is no denying that the Heat would love to have him healthy, even if new addition Rashard Lewis cuts into half of his minutes.
Josh Harrellson, who won the last spot on the roster, is healthy if the Heat decide to utilize him. While he may not be a major contributor, Harrellson is a nice player to have in practice with his high energy and great work ethic.
Chris Bosh missed much of last season's playoff run after an abdominal strain. This season, though, the All-Star is healthy and ready to make an monster impact on the court with opponents focusing their attention on teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
A potential storyline this season is whether Udonis Haslem or Rashard Lewis become frustrated with their lack of playing time behind starter Chris Bosh. Haslem, who had the job all to himself last season, must now share rotation minutes with the former Orlando Magic star.
Haslem does not have an injury right now, which means he is in the perfect opportunity to show coach Erik Spoelstra that he deserves the brunt of the minutes.
The addition of Rashard Lewis was very underrated, as it was overshadowed by the signing of guard Ray Allen. Nonetheless, Lewis will be able to stretch the floor at the 4 due to his ability to knock down the open three-pointer.
Last year, Lewis was plagued with a bunch of injuries, which has been a problem for the veteran in years past. This season, however, Lewis entered the season with no aches or pains.
Simply put, LeBron James once again showed why he is the best player in the world in the Heat's season opener against the Boston Celtics. That is until he was forced out of the game due to cramping in both of his legs.
James isn't worried about the injury, though.
Heat fans should rejoice, as the All-NBA talent will undoubtedly return to his dominant form. The question is will this become a reoccurring problem with James?
Shane Battier, despite entering the season at the ripe age of 34, is starting at the position of power forward for the Heat and is injury free. Even though his natural position is small forward and he doesn't really have the size to be a post player, the Heat will need Battier to provide energy and hustle for their starting core.
James Jones won't be relied on heavily this season, but it is nice for the Heat to have him healthy for depth reasons.
Mike Miller looked like he was on the verge of retirement last season, as he was injured all year and always looked as if he was in pain on the court. Despite being labeled completely injury free entering the season, one must wonder how well his body will hold up during a grueling NBA season.
The fact that Dwyane Wade is healthy has to scare the entire NBA. Just two seasons ago, this shooting guard was arguably the best player in the world. Last season, though, Wade struggled with injuries, which caused people to believe Wade's skill and athleticism were regressing.
That simply was not the case.
His physical ailments severely limited him, as he relies significantly on his speed and jumping ability. Expect Wade to blossom this season, barring injury.
Ray Allen seems to always escape the injury bug. A gritty veteran, Allen always manages to keep his endurance up and his body healthy. This year is no exception.
Allen's first season in Miami should be a hit, as he will see a plethora of open shots due to the incredible penetration abilities of Wade and James.
Harris will rarely see minutes with these two future Hall of Famers ahead of him on the depth chart. Nevertheless, Harris will be healthy to ride the pine.
Mario Chalmers is an intricate part of the Heats offense, and he will be ready and injury free to start the season. While he may not put up major statistics, his three-point shooting and ability to control the flow of the game will certainly impact the team.
There is no denying that Norris Cole is set to make a huge jump in production this year. Part of the reason is that Cole won't be hampered by any pesky aches.