"Terrible," was his answer to a "How is it?" query as he
departed, though O'Neal sent word later that he wasn't being
Still, there's already cause for some serious concern around
Heat camp -- as eight of Miami's 20 players were unable to practice
Monday because of injuries. Bruised hips, sore shins, aching
thighs, sprained ankles -- all that and more are being treated by
the Heat medical staff these days.
An 0-4 start to the preseason isn't helping matters, either.
"It's frustrating for me because I'd like to have all hands on
deck and be pushing toward that goal of putting the team
together," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "But you have to deal with
what you have."
Or in this case, what you don't have.
The hurting Heat were all seated along the practice court Monday
morning as teammates ran drills. Guard Dwyane Wade -- who's out for
at least a few regular-season games as he recovers from knee and
shoulder surgeries -- tried to entertain himself by seeing if he
could get a ball stuck on a basket support.
Miami knew it'd be without Wade for a while. All the other
injuries are relatively new.
O'Neal injured his leg Saturday in a preseason game against
Charlotte and is day-to-day, Riley said. Brian Chase (foot), Jason
Williams (shin), Marcus Slaughter (ankle), Penny Hardaway
(quadriceps), Wayne Simien (knee) and Michael Doleac (hip) also
missed Monday's workout, although most may be back in a couple of
But for now, they're merely spectators. Hardaway watched the end
of practice from a stationary bike, his head tilted to the right.
Williams got into a conversation with Wade. Slaughter yawned.
"I could probably go, but I don't want to [mess] something else
up," said Williams, who spent the summer rehabbing a chronically
sore knee that he said doesn't hurt anymore.
"I guess it's frustrating, but at the same time, we've got to
take care of our bodies first," Williams added. "If we're hurt,
we can't go, so there's no need to go out there and jeopardize our
For Hardaway, the waiting is particularly tough -- since he
probably has to play his way onto the Heat roster.
The 36-year-old has barely played over the past four NBA seasons
because of knee problems. He says the knee is fine, but the sore
quadriceps has kept him from doing much of anything since camp
"Injuries are a part of the game," said Hardaway, who plans to
practice this week. "Thank God it's not the regular season and
then guys are out. Right now is the time, if there ever is a time,
for guys to get well, get healed up and get ready."