While Chris Andersen remained trim during his nine months away from the game, he's not ready to immediately affect a game like the Birdman of old.
Anderson estimated his basketball conditioning level at about "75 percent" on Monday. Andersen joked that he kept his body weight down by eating his mother-in-law's fried rice. In all seriousness, he avoided carbohydrates in foods like pizza and pasta.
But there is no conditioning substitute for playing NBA games. In that regard, Andersen is still out of shape. Over the next week he plans to put himself through twice-a-day workouts to speed up the process.
"It’s a different game once you get out here and get five-on-five,” Andersen said. “That’s a whole different world of conditioning.”
Considering Andersen's intense competitive drive through the years, the Heat isn't overly concerned with Andersen's current form. Anderson is on a 10-day contract, but if things go as planned, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gave every indication on Monday that the veteran center will be with the team for the rest of the season.
“He has a lean, live body, so I think in the next three or four weeks you’ll see that change even more," Spoelstra said. "He’ll get in better shape as the weeks go by. We have plenty of time left in the season.
"This is an early acquisition. Sometimes we’ve made our acquisition a little later, so we feel very comfortable with the timeline right now. And since he kept his weight and body fat down, he’s pretty close to his target levels already just because he keeps himself naturally somewhat fit, physically fit even if it’s not basketball fit. That helps.”