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Jimmy Butler has excused absence for first full Heat practice

Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler (22) goes up for a basket during the second half in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler (22) goes up for a basket during the second half in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MIAMI – The Miami Heat returned to the practice floor as a full team for the first time on Sunday.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra said that Jimmy Butler did not participate in Sunday’s practice, but that his absence was excused.

The Heat return from an NBA Finals run just a few months ago.

Spoelstra said, “The fact that we were able to bring back so many players, particularly from what we just experienced just several weeks ago, probably allowed us to fast-track a little quicker. Today, was just a practice to gauge where everyone was physically.”

Spoelstra said that at today’s practice, the team was able to move quickly through things.

Spoelstra said, “Really I just wanted to use it as a template to see where guys were, what they were able to retain and how quickly the new players were able to get up to speed with things. Each year is different, the challenges are unique to your particular team. We want to make sure that we’re not skipping steps, it does help when you bring back a large part of your core.”

The Heat head coach said that the team spends a lot of time talking about the health and safety procotols related to Covid-19. He said that continues to educate the staff and players. Spoelstra is having a team Zoom to educate the team on how to get up to speed. Lead trainer Jay Sabol is taking on the role of making sure the Heat know all of the protocols.

Spoelstra said that if you don’t have the right kind of staff to handle the rules, it could be too overwhelming.

Spoelstra said, “It’s more about being responsible and mindful and disciplined about all of this. It’s really going to take a respect level from everybody. This is serious. It also is amazing that we have an opportunity to continue our profession and our business.”


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