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Notes and quotes from Tuesday's Heat practice in the Bahamas

NASSAU, BAHAMAS -- The Heat's first practice of the season took place here Tuesday morning inside a ballroom turned basketball court and as so many Miami fans have come accustomed to hearing Josh McRoberts was a non-participant. 

Coach Erik Spoelstra said McRoberts, who was on a stationary bike, injured his foot and ankle about five weeks ago.

McRoberts, who has a chance to make an impact this season with Chris Bosh out and Miami in dire need of help at power forward, has missed 88 games in his first two seasons with the Heat because of various injuries.

"He's actually rehabbing well," Spoelstra said. "So, he'll be doing more and more this week. [Undrafted rookie forward] Stephan [Jankovich] also has a sprained ankle. But he was able to participate probably the first half hour of practice. We'll monitor both of them as the week goes on. [Josh Richardson] is doing a little bit."

Richardson, who sprained his MCL coming down after a dunk during a team workout three weeks ago, said he spent nearly all of Tuesday's practice on a stationary bike. 

"Today I rode the bike for the first time," Richardson said. "I did some band work, balance work. I was on the court with the guys talking and helping out. But I couldn't really like run or anything like that."

Richardson said he can't tell if there is any pain in his knee because he really hasn't "tried anything yet."

He said he has no timetable for when he will start practicing for real. It's clear Spoelstra wants to be cautious with him.

"We really need to be careful," Spoelstra said. "With him it's tough, he's one of those guys we don't want to fast track because he would think he's ready to play right now. We want to be smart about it."


Though the Heat is spending six days here at a resort, there's not going to be a lot time for fun, Spoelstra said. The team has practices scheduled for 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day. 

"They know what to expect," Spoelstra said. "And if for whatever reason that escaped them not knowing what a Miami training camp would be like then I think after the session tonight they'll realize they won't have a lot of excess energy to do other things. But it's a great environment to get to work. The views are fantastic. Even out of our meeting rooms, coming out of our meals, it's a nice environment. We wanted to give these guys that environment while we're getting things done."

Guard Dion Waiters said he was probably going to be too tired to enjoy the water slides and beaches at Atlantis.

"I'm not going to no beach," Waiters said.  "I'm tired. It's work. This is what it's about, taking care of business now so when the game comes it's easier. If we push each other like we did today we're only going to make each other better."

Still, veteran Udonis Haslem said he would like to get players together to do something fun before they leave.

"I have to find out the schedule from coach," Haslem said. 

Will he take the team down the 50-foot slide? 

"I don't know," Haslem said with a grin. That slide gives you wedgies."


Spoelstra said he was extremely happy with the collective conditioning of the team -- especially Waiters who has shed close to 12 pounds and 3 1/2 percent body fat in three weeks. 

"Guys came in extremely well conditioned," Spoelstra said. "So we were able to really get into full contact in this first practice. We didn't mess around or wait. We got right to it. We didn't feel the need to use practice to get guys in shape. Instead we were getting ready to work, which we need a lot of it. We have new faces, guys in different roles. I commend them for really spending the last seven, eight weeks putting in that time to get their bodies right.

"[Waiters] made it through this practice without a problem. We love his conditioning right now."

Said Waiters: "I feel good. I feel lighter. I have a lot of energy. I felt great."

Having Haslem around to lead the team in voluntary workouts since Aug. 1 has been huge, Spoelstra said.

"He's been tremendous," he said. "When you bring in new players and you're developing a young group you have to have veteran leadership and somebody who understands what the Miami Heat way is. We're not saying the Miami Heat way is better or worse than any other way. But at least we know and believe in a way. That brings some stability to some of the guys coming in here. They have an idea of what to expect.

"I say this a lot, but we can spend a lot of time explaining what the Miami Heat culture or what it means to put on a Miami Heat uniform. Or, we could show a picture of Udonis Haslem and they get the idea of what the culture is by his example. His voice has been tremendous. The guys respect him."

Haslem said the team "had a lot of energy" Tuesday.

"As usual, offense is a little messy. But that's what you expect the first couple days with people flying around like chickens with their heads cut off," he said. "But there was a lot of energy out there, a lot of fresh legs out there."

> Players said it was weird not seeing Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade around after so many years with the organization. But the message has been consistent from the top on down -- it's time to move on. 

"It is strange," Spoelstra said. "But, once you get on the wood and start working with this group they got the attention that they deserve from the coaching staff. It's about these 19 guys right now, investing in all of them. And preparing for 29 days from now."

Center Hassan Whiteside said it sucks not having Bosh around. He misses his friendship in the locker room. But the Heat has to move on.

"We have really talented guys," Whiteside said. "Guys that are willing to put in work everyday. We just have to move forward with what we've got. These guys are talented. So, I'm not worried." 

> What is Whiteside looking to improve on?

"Just build trust with the guys, build chemistry with the guys," he said. "Me and Goran [Dragic] had much better chemistry the second half of the season. We got like almost a whole new team. Building chemistry with the guys and showing them I'm trustworthy and vice-versa."




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