The 32-year-old veteran has been out ever since his violent altercation with Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic on November 8. Morris was initially ruled out due to whiplash after being on the receiving end of Jokic’s blindside hit, but he’s remained out due to a neck injury, per the Heat’s injury reports.
If the Heat’s game against San Antonio Spurs wasn’t forced to be rescheduled on December 29, Morris’ missed game count would be at 30 games.
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On December 24, after yet another Heat player went down with an injury during, backup center Dewayne Dedmon, Five Reasons Sports Network tweeted, “The Heat may need to start providing a little more public info about Markieff Morris.”
That tweet caught Morris’ attention, and he personally responded to the call for more information about his status: “No they don’t! Coming soon!!”
It was wonderful to hear from Morris, as he’s been radio silent since taking a blindside hit to the back, but now we’re in 2022, and there’s still been no official update on his status. Nothing from Morris or anyone from the Heat’s staff.
On January 5, Morris tweeted for the first time since Christmas Eve, a cryptic message of just two emoji faces with sunglasses, which caused a stir on Twitter.
Suffice to say, Heat Nation is not happy about being in the dark when it comes to one of the team’s most exciting offseason additions. “Stop with the cryptic messages are you coming back,” one person tweeted, while another fan begged, “Bro come back, we already coming up with conspiracies about the situation.”
Morris Has Been Spotted Warming Up With the Team Before Games
Morris has been spotted warming up with the team during pregame shootarounds, which created false hope that his return was imminent. With such a depleted roster, it’s safe to assume that if Morris was healthy enough to return, now would be the time.
The Heat will take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, January 5, with only 11 players available to play. The 6 roster players who are available: Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry, Caleb Martin, Max Strus, P.J. Tucker, and Omer Yurtseven.
While Miami has signed numerous players to 10-day hardship contracts, only four of Heat’s six COVID-19 replacements can be active since only four of the Heat’s players are out due to protocols.
Heat players ruled out for Wednesday’s nights include Morris, Dedmon, Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Marcus Garrett, Udonis Haslem, KZ Okpala, Duncan Robinson, Gabe Vincent, and Victor Oladipo, the latter of whom has yet to play in one game this season.
Spoelstra Hasn’t Discussed Morris’ Status Since November 20
Spoelstra has kept silent when it came to providing any update on Morris’ possible return. In fact, the last time Spoelstra spoke about Morris was on November 20.
“It is disappointing,” Spoelstra said of the forward’s extended absence due to Jokic’s hit. “A very dangerous play and it’s really unfortunate. That’s the byproduct of those kind of dangerous actions. But he is feeling better and we’ll just continue to take it one day at a time.”
On the other side of things, Jokic, the NBA’s reigning MVP, hit the town with his brothers, Strahinja and Nemanja Jokic, after beating the Heat for the second straight time. Adding insult to injury, the trio was spotted partying it up in Miami’s nightlife.