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NBA Miami Heat

5 Players Who Could Potentially Get Injured Next Season for the Miami Heat

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Five Players Who Could Potentially Get Injured Next Season for the Miami Heat

Miami Heat
Steve Mitchell- USA Today Sports

This upcoming season is the Miami Heat's most important in franchise history. With the potential for a “three-peat” in tow, everything will need to go right for the defending champs to claim the title once again. Not only will players need to improve their respective games, but they will also need to stay healthy throughout the course of a brutal 82-game season.

The Heat are no strangers to severe injuries. During their first title run in 2012, Chris Bosh went out during the Eastern Conference semifinals with a severe abdominal injury that almost cost the Heat their first championship. Dwyane Wade's nagging knee injuries almost cost the Heat the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals versus the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs. Without huge efforts from LeBron James down the stretch, the Heat would have come up empty-handed.

The Heat’s championship roster is only getting older. Seven players on the roster are over the age of 30, with another five in their late 20s. That is not a good projection for long-term success. Having the “win-now” mentality can take a toll on your team, especially when you have a veteran roster. With that being said, the Heat must monitor these five players going into the 2013-14 season. If not, severe injuries could occur, which would negatively affect their chances of a third consecutive title.

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5. Chris Andersen

Chris Andersen
Steve Mitchell- USA Today Sports

The biggest concern for Chris Andersen going into the 2013-14 season is whether he can play with the type of intensity he brought last year for the stretch of an entire season. Andersen has stayed relatively healthy throughout his 12-year career in the NBA, but age is catching up to the high-flying center. Solidifying himself as the next best option at center for the Miami Heat will undoubtedly give him more minutes this upcoming season, but the organization will need to be cautious in how far they push Andersen in terms of playing time.

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4. Ray Allen

Ray Allen
Derick E. Hingle- USA Today Sports

Ray Allen has struggled with ankle issues over the last few seasons. During the summer of 2012, Allen had surgery on his ankle to remove the bone spurs that had accumulated. Since then, his production has taken a slight dip. The Heat were smart by delegating him to the second unit, only allowing him to average 25.8 minutes per game. This upcoming season, with Dwyane Wade returning from knee injury, more will be expected of Allen. This will lead to more minutes, which could backfire on the Heat organization if they aren’t careful.

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3. Udonis Haslem

Udonis Haslem
Thomas J. Russo- USA Today Sports

The co-captain of the Miami Heat has had his fair share of bumps and bruises. It was only two seasons ago that Udonis Haslem horrifically tore most of the ligaments in his left foot. Since then, his once reliable mid-range shot has become more grounded. Even with the recent signings of Greg Oden and Chris Andersen, the Heat will still rely on Haslem to be a heavy contributor in the frontcourt. This is why his health is of the utmost importance. Haslem plays such a defining role in the defense of the frontcourt. Playing more than the 18.9 minutes per game he averaged last season would be a bad decision by the Heat organization.

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2. Greg Oden

Greg Oden
Craig Mitcheldyer- USA Today Sports

This is a no-brainer for the Miami Heat. The former no. 1 pick has only played 82 games since he entered the league in 2008, and has had three micro-fracture knee surgeries on top of that. Oden will receive little to no playing time at the beginning of the season, but as the postseason approaches, look for the Heat to beginning giving Oden significant minutes. How Oden responds to these minutes is the real question. Constant supervision is key in order for Oden to stay healthy enough to make it through an actual 82-game season.

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1. Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade
Steve Mitchell- USA Today Sports

Dwyane Wade is the most important player for the Miami Heat to monitor in terms of health. Wade has struggled mightily with knee issues since 2006, and over the last few offseasons, he has had to have surgery just to repair the damage from the previous postseason run. When Wade is healthy, the Heat are nearly impossible to beat. This is why it is crucial for Wade to play limited minutes this season, regardless of what the record reflects. Wade has basically limped his way through the last few postseasons and it has almost cost the franchise both their consecutive championships. If Wade can play under his career average of 36.9 minutes per game, the Heat could find themselves with an invigorated shooting guard going into the 2014 Playoffs.