Luol Deng missed six games earlier this season, and the Heat went 3-3.
But this is a different Heat team now than it was then, one that has become much more reliant on his presence as a power forward.
So it will be interesting to see how the Heat adjusts for his absence against San Antonio; Deng will miss the game with a sore quad. He initially injured it last Thursday against Charlotte, and played through it against Cleveland and New Orleans. But it tightened up on him, and he wasn't moving the way he wanted. He thinks he can return Friday against Orlando, but is taking it day-to-day.
So how will the Heat adjust?
"I don't know," Dwyane Wade acknowledged before Thursday's game.
Miami will start by plugging Josh McRoberts into Deng's spot.
Udonis Haslem might have been an option, since he's guarded both Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge, but he's worked exclusively as the third-string center at practice this season. And Erik Spoelstra chose to elevate McRoberts rather than mess with his bench trio, and go small with Justise Winslow.
McRoberts was signed in the summer of 2014 to be a starter, but this is his first start of the 2015-16 season.