Heat's Erik Spoelstra Out vs. Raptors Due to COVID Protocols: Chris Quinn to Replace

Doric SamApril 3, 2022

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 02: Head coach Erik Spoelstra of Miami Heat looks on in the second half against the Chicago Bulls at United Center on April 02, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.  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 Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The Miami Heat are already expected to have a short-handed roster for Sunday's game against the Toronto Raptors, and now they will be without their coach.

The Heat announced that head coach Erik Spoelstra will be out because of COVID-19 protocols and assistant Chris Quinn will coach the team in his place.

The Heat will be missing star forward Jimmy Butler on the second night of a back-to-back while he nurses a toe injury. Dewayne Dedmon (ankle), Gabe Vincent (toe) and P.J. Tucker (knee) have also been ruled out.

Sunday's game will mark Heat point guard Kyle Lowry's return to Toronto for the first time since he joined Miami as a free agent last summer. The veteran floor general spent nine seasons with the Raptors and helped lead the team to its first NBA title in 2019.

It's the second time in a little over a week that Miami will be without its head coach. Spoelstra missed the team's loss to the Brooklyn Nets on March 26 because one of his sons was undergoing a medical procedure. It was just the third time he was forced to miss a game in his 14 years as Heat head coach, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Despite the loss to Brooklyn, Spoelstra has expressed complete confidence in Quinn filling in for him.

"He has the full trust of everybody. ... This is something that he has been developing for several years," Spoelstra told reporters Monday.

The Heat (50-28) enter Sunday's matchup with a 1.5-game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for first place in the Eastern Conference.