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Beasley returns strong before hobbling off

MIAMI -- On Monday, Minnesota forward Michael Beasley attracted a throng of reporters to Timberwolves practice in downtown Miami. Despite the anticipation for his return, the mercurial forward insisted repeatedly that his homecoming to play the Heat in Miami was like any other game.

Beasley expressed no lingering grudge toward the Heat, who sold off the second overall pick in the 2008 draft to Minnesota for a couple of future second-round picks during Heat team president Pat Riley’s summer clearance sale.

Beasley’s spirited time on the floor on Tuesday in Miami suggested otherwise. The third-year southpaw played with an uncommon vitality seen only in fits and starts during his tenure as a Heater. Midway through the first quarter off a Corey Brewer missed jumper, Bealsey slipped past LeBron James and over the entire scrum of big men beneath the Timberwolves’ basket for a violent left-handed slam on the putback.

But after racking up 11 points in as many minutes, Beasley hit the deck hard on an aggressive left-handed drive through the lane at the 8:10 mark of the second quarter. He landed on his left hip. The contact appeared to be initiated inadvertently by his replacement in Miami, Chris Bosh, though James Jones was whistled for the foul.

“I was trying to make a play on the ball and block his shot,” Bosh said. “Then I just heard him hit the floor. He hit the floor pretty hard.”

Beasley converted the layup, but writhed on the floor for several minutes. After being helped to his feet, Beasley collapsed again while being walked to the bench. Timberwolves reserve center Kosta Koufas entered the game for Beasley and drained the and-1 from the foul stripe.

“I was saying to myself all sorts of expletives when he went down,” Timberwolves forward Kevin Love said. “That’s one of my partners in crime on this team. I was real upset to see him go down.”

Beasley was taken to the locker room. X-rays came back as negative, with the official diagnosis being a left hip contusion. A team official listed Beasley’s status as questionable, with no official timetable for his return.

Beasley has had a tumultuous pro career, including a series of incidents surrounding his battle with drugs. He was also fined several times by the Heat for various team rules violations.

Having suffered a slew of high-profile, self-inflicted wounds, Beasley’s injury on Tuesday night was relatively routine for such a physical league.