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As the World (Tour) Turns

Checking in live a few hours after the Heat's/NBA's/1-man American media contingent's train trip from Paris delivered us to the West India Quay Marriott, which is right beside the Bank of America tower on the Canary, smack in the heart of Great Britain.

Indeed, it's become a global village - albeit one with an economy spiraling out of control.

In times like these, I assume you (Heat fans) could use a bit of good news.

Just caught up with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra between a workout and a nap, and he said both Shaun Livingston and Udonis Haslem could play in Sunday's Game 2 exhibition against the Nets if - and that's a big if - they pass physical tests at Saturday's practice. Haslem's potential return - or preseason debut, actually - would come at an opportune time for the Heat. Jamaal Magloire, who broke his left hand in Thursday's loss to the Nets in Paris, returned to Miami today to have his hand evaluated for surgery.

That leaves the Heat with three centers, but only one with reasonable NBA experience (Mark Blount) available. Although second-year player Joel Anthony and rookie David Padgett, both undrafted out of college, are developing at nice rate, there would be no better time than now for Haslem to get back into the mix. We've heard so much about Haslem, Michael Beasley and Shawn Marion being able to co-exist on the floor at the same time. Well, now, we find out - if Haslem is healthy enough to go.

And with the Heat's numbers also down at point guard, where Marcus Banks and Mario Chalmers were the only two to play Thursday, it's the perfect time to get Livingston over his post-surgery jitters so he can display those dazzling practice moves under the real bright lights on an international stage.

This is not to suggest that either Livingston (knee) or Haslem (foot) needs to be rushed back from injuries at the risk of losing them for the all-important start of the regular season, which opens with the Heat seemingly on the road until Christmas Eve.

But if both can emerge from Saturday's workout without any complications and get some PT on Sunday, it would go a long way toward easing Spoelstra's concerns. James Jones, who sprained his right wrist a day into training camp, also is on the mend.

"We're looking forward to getting Shaun involved, and Udonis might be back, too," Spoelstra said. "We still have to work all of the guys in who have been out the past few days. We'll give them a run in practice, and if they feel good, yeah (they could play)."

Spoelstra said Chris Quinn, who sprained his ankle last Sunday against Detroit, will try to practice Saturday for the first time in a week. But he's still very, very doubtful for this Sunday's game. Dorell Wright, who is recovering from knee surgery, also won't play but is making steady progress.

At some point, the Heat must get over these nagging aches to have any shot at establishing the chemistry needed to truly put last season's disastrous, injury-riddled 15-67 campaign behind.

"Who works well with who, is what I'm trying to figure out right now," Spoelstra said. "It's a challenge."

The roster from last season may have changed. But until some of the key rotation guys get back on the court, the pain - for now - remains the same.




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