Miami Heat guard Rodney McGruder, the presumed starting small forward, will likely undergo surgery on his leg according to Ira Winderman of the Miami Sentinel. His surgery is set for Tuesday, also according to Winderman. The Vertical’s Shams Charania says McGruder will likely be out three to six months, a relatively large timetable.
McGruder’s absence means that head coach Erik Spoelstra will have a few options to turn to. Josh Richardson seems to be the strongest contender, though Justise Winslow and James Johnson could fill the role too. Richardson, fresh off of a big contract extension, is the most probable choice to fill the gap. He has had a strong preseason showing to boot. Richardson had been playing point guard for Miami as of late in the absence of Goran Dragic, who is resting after playing in EuroBasket.
McGruder averaged 6.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and just under two assists per game last season. He complained about leg soreness over the past few days according to the Miami Sentinel, but he trudged on and continued playing. His role on the team is largely a “scrapper”, someone who does whatever is necessary for the better of the team. That role is valuable, but the Heat will have to find a way to replace for the majority of the season.