Kyle Lowry is nearing a return to the court, according to the latest update from Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

The Heat guard has been absent for the last 13 games after initially being placed on the injury report with left knee soreness in early February. Lowry's projected return has been pushed back a number of times. But according to Spoelstra he is “making great progress”, suggesting a return could come sooner rather than later.

It hasn’t exactly been a year to remember for the 36-year-old point guard to date. He’s averaged just 12.0 points on 39.6% shooting from the field and 33.3% shooting from beyond the arc, all three of which are the lowest averages he’s put up since way back in 2009.

In the lead-up to this extended absence, his form went from bad to worse. In the last five games he played, Kyle Lowry averaged under six points per game, shooting a woeful 25% from the field in that time.

But while he might not exactly be the most influential player on the roster, the Miami Heat are 6-7 in his absence and in the run to the playoffs, a healthy team may prove pivotal. They currently find themselves sitting in seventh position in the Eastern Conference, but with the Brooklyn Nets just a couple of games ahead, the prospect of moving up a spot and avoiding the play-in tournament is a very real one.

After consecutive games against the Cleveland Cavaliers they have a stretch of very winnable games coming up, and an extra ball-handler taking the load off the likes of Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler could be more significant than Lowry’s form this season might suggest.