Aug 14, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT
Something forgotten when Udonis Haslem came back to help lead the Heat’s surge past the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals is that Haslem wasn’t anywhere near healthy. He was in a race against time trying to recover from his foot injury, and had had significant surgery a few months before. Haslem was careful with when he came back, he wasn’t rushing out there limping, this wasn’t like Rajon Rondo playing through his shoulder. But Haslem was facing a pretty tough hill to climb and got over it in time to get back and rushed right back into playoff play. While the Heat came up short, Haslem played about as well as could be expected. And now’s the kind of time to take note that these players were not near 100% when they fought through the playoffs.
From the Palm Beach Post:
If the season does start on time, Haslem should be ready for it. He recently had another procedure, one he termed minor, to remove the screw from his foot and clean out his ankle, and declared himself at “100 percent strength.” He even that he would consider playing in Europe if the work stoppage dragged on, provided that he felt completely ready health-wise.
Haslem spent the 2002-03 season in France, playing for Chalon-Sur-Saone, after he was cut by the Atlanta Hawks and before he signed with the Heat. He did not enjoy the experience, but thinks he would appreciate it more now.
“I’m a lot more mature, a lot more laid-back,” Haslem said.
Getting Haslem back for a full-season along with Mike Miller, who was pretty much a one-man M*A*S*H* unit by the end of the Finals, is crucial for the Heat next season. They’re committed to both of those players for future seasons. Everyone talks about what upgrades the Heat need to make, but they made Game 6 of the Finals with Haslem barely back from being out for most of the year and Miller, the walking wince. There will be upgrades. But you have to wonder what getting healthy will do for the Heat.
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