Another Miami Heat season, another appearance in the play-in tournament, but while they reached the NBA Finals last year, it will be a tough task this g0-around as they face the Philadelphia 76ers in the right to play the No. 2 seed New York Knicks in the playoffs. However, there could be an aspect of the team that will hold them back as their fatal flaw.

It was another inconsistent season for the Heat as they finished with the eighth seed despite winning their last two games against the Toronto Raptors. Entering the regular season finale Sunday, they had the opportunity to finish as high as the fifth seed, but was at least aiming for the sixth to avoid the tourney all together.

While at one point they had control of their own destiny, they didn't then as they needed other Eastern Conference teams like the 76ers, Orlando Magic, and Indiana Pacers to lose and none came through. Miami now has to live with their reality and face Philadelphia, but what is the fatal flaw that could hold them back Wednesday night?

Heat's injury problem continues with Terry Rozier and others

Miami Heat guard Terry Rozier (2) brings the ball up the court during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries have been one of the negative trends that have plagued the Heat all season, even going back to the year prior where key players missed significant time. It continued in 2024 and has bled through the present time where three integral rotational pieces are of danger for missing the contest.

Starting with Terry Rozier and Duncan Robinson, each have missed the last four games of the season where the last time they played was April 7 in the loss to the Indiana Pacers. Rozier is dealing with a neck injury while Robinson is dealing with a nagging back problem called “left facet syndrome” which kept him out earlier as Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra briefly updates about their recovery going forward before Sunday's Raptors outing.

“It has been good for both of those guys,” Spoelstra said. “Their bodies will let us know, they're making progress. I know how badly both of them want to be out here right now, but we'll just continue treating them.”

Spoelstra talks Rozier's injury

Needing an upgrade at point guard over Kyle Lowry, the Heat traded for Rozier before the NBA trade deadline as he's been a way more explosive scorer while also facilitating the ball at a solid level. He has been adapting well to the team's system being more of a complimentary player compared to a featured one with the Charlotte Hornets as Spoelstra commented on what will it take for him to come back to the lineup.

“As soon as he gets relief, it's as simple as that,” Spoelstra said. “You know, his neck is just really jacked up, you know, right now and he needs to calm that down. For anybody that has had neck or back pain, it just takes time. He's doing everything he needs to do.”

Spoelstra would say to ClutchPoints that Rozier is “day-to-day” and that he has one of those neck injuries that is sporadic where he can wake up one day and it'll be gone. Even the 30-year old guard himself said he probably “shouldn't have played” in the aforementioned game against Indiana.

“I mean, I never like to make excuses, but I shouldn’t have went, I shouldn't have played…,” Rozier said after the April 7 outing. “I felt like I hurt the team by trying to be a warrior and get out there, and I feel like I hurt myself, but we move on, can’t do nothing about it, I know it’s going to get better.”

A new injury for Miami in regular season finale

Missing him could be huge for the team, along with Robinson who provides Miami with elite three-point shooting ability which results in spacing. He has improved in other areas of his game like his passing and ability to score when driving into the paint.

Another injury the Heat are dealing with is a new one as Kevin Love left the regular season finale at the end of the first quarter to the locker room and wouldn't return. He is suffering from a left upper arm contusion as announced by the team during the game on their X (formerly known as Twitter) account.

Spoelstra would talk briefly about it, said “he got hit in the arm” and it was a “stinger” which usually doesn't mean it's a long-term injury. His loss would be huge as Love has been the primary backup center to Bam Adebayo who also provides spacing and a veteran leadership in what has been a solid season from the 35-year old.

In any sense, the Heat could be dealing with some more absences come Wednesday, but if there is a bright side, the team has dealt with this before and have prevailed. If they can't beat Philadelphia, they will host the winner of the 9-10 seed matchup between the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks.