Heat vs. Spurs Postponed Due to Miami's COVID-19 Issues, Injuries

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 29, 2021

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 04: A detail of the Miami Heat "Vice Versa" logo on the court during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Arena on January 04, 2021 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The NBA has postponed Wednesday's game between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Heat didn't have at least eight players available, which is the minimum number required of a team to play.

The Heat said Wednesday that Zylan Cheatham, P.J. Tucker and Gabe Vincent entered the health and safety protocols, while Jimmy Butler, Markieff Morris and KZ Okpala would be out through injury.

Six other players were listed in Miami's injury report:

Steve Popper @StevePopper

This is the Heat injury report for tonight's game that has been postponed. <a href="https://t.co/3AsN4Unrk3">pic.twitter.com/3AsN4Unrk3</a>

Multiple reports laid out how desperate things had become for the Heat:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

The Miami Heat are signing C Aric Holman of the G-League Austin Spurs to a 10-day hardship deal, sources tell ESPN. His best attribute today? Driving distance. He's on his way to San Antonio to meet the Heat and help them have 8 active players to avoid a postponement vs. Spurs.

Ira Winderman @IraHeatBeat

Here's where Heat-Spurs stands: NBA basically has told Heat to take any three available players from G League Austin Spurs. Heat also have injury concerns with Garrett (wrist), Robinson (chest, I believe, from early foul Tuesday). Talks ongoing.

A number of teams across the league have struggled to meet the eight-player threshold due to the increase in COVID-19 cases brought on by the omicron variant.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN's Malika Andrews on Dec. 21 that league officials weren't yet considering a pause to allow teams to get their players back from the protocols:

Malika Andrews @malika_andrews

Commissioner Adam Silver joined NBA Today to talk about COVID in the league as Christmas Day approaches. <br><br>Silver said there are currently no plans to pause the season. <a href="https://t.co/LFIPCCejnQ">pic.twitter.com/LFIPCCejnQ</a>

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened its recommended isolation time following a positive COVID test, though, the NBA amended its return-to-play protocols. Players who test positive can isolate for as few as six days before returning as long as they're asymptomatic and fulfill other testing measures.

The Heat are off Thursday and return to action Friday against the Houston Rockets. Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel reported Butler and Kyle Lowry are both expected to be available, thus helping the team potentially avert another postponement.