Nikola Jovic, Omer Yurtseven ailing with Heat poised to resume Las Vegas summer-league schedule

Nikola Jovic, Omer Yurtseven ailing with Heat poised to resume Las Vegas summer-league schedule

The whirlwind of a season in Serbia followed by a month training in Miami, then attending the June 23 NBA draft at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, a media conference back in Miami the next day after being taken at No. 27, then off to summer leagues in San Francisco and Las Vegas, might finally be slowing for Miami Heat rookie forward Nikola Jovic.

But it isn’t by choice.

A quadriceps bruise sustained in Saturday’s opening win at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League had Jovic sidelined for Monday’s practice on the UNLV campus.

“I just jumped to block a shot and a guy just kneed me in my quad,” Jovic said. “It’s more a contusion, nothing special. But I was unable to practice right now. I hope I’ll recover soon. I don’t know what time I’ll be back, but I think I’ll be really soon.”

Jovic was particularly hopeful of getting back for Tuesday’s 7 p.m. Eastern game against the Atlanta Hawks’ summer roster (NBA TV), after going scoreless in taking just one shot in Saturday’s victory over the Boston Celtics’ summer roster.

“Last game, I wasn’t in a rhythm. I just didn’t start the game good, missed both free throws to start the game,” the lithe 19-year-old said. “But I’m still learning. Like I said. I’ll find myself better and better. I know I can play good, even off the ball. I just need a little time.”

Heat assistant Malik Allen, who is guiding the Heat summer roster, wasn’t sure that time would come Tuesday.

“He’s getting better,” Allen said. “He got treatment [Sunday, when the team was given the day off] and he’s feeling a bit better today. So we’ll see how it goes.”

For Jovic, amid his whirlwind the past two weeks, it could allow for an exhale.

“I’m just learning a lot,” he said. “And that’s the thing I’m excited [about] the most. Everything is new to me. I’ll learn a lot. I think I’m becoming more and more experienced. And I think I’ll play better and better. Just I need time. Time is right now the thing I require.”

The Heat conclude their summer schedule this weekend. Then, Jovic said, it will be back home to Serbia, but with plans to be back in South Florida well before training camp opens in late September.

“I’m planning to go home a little bit, just rest a little bit,” he said. “It was a long, long year. But I’ll not be home that much. I’m a rookie. I have a lot to work [on]. And I showed I need to work a lot. So I’ll be back pretty soon. But just I need to go home, see my family a little bit, get some stuff.”

No Yurtseven

Center Omer Yurtseven also was held out of practice, as he awaits clearance from the Heat medical staff after a quadriceps injury of his own, sustained two weeks ago while playing in a World Cup qualifier for Turkey’s national team.

“He seems to be getting better,” Allen said. “He was shooting a little bit. He responded well to treatment. He’s day to day. So we’ll just see. He won’t play [Tuesday], I know that. So we’ll see how it goes after that.”

The Heat’s remaining schedule in Las Vegas is a Wednesday 9 p.m. Eastern game against the Philadelphia 76ers (ESPN2), a Friday 10 p.m. Eastern game against the Toronto Raptors (NBA TV), and the one additional game either Saturday or Sunday.

Taking it in

Veteran power forward Udonis Haslem and former Heat center and current team executive Alonzo Mourning were among those taking in Monday’s practice.

Haslem, 42, has yet to commit to a 20th season with the team.

Mitchell interest

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the Heat apparently made a pitch for Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell even before the Jazz traded center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Tribune reported, “According to a league source, one offer came from Miami even before the Gobert trade was finalized. The Jazz, though, found that offer insufficient.”

Of where the Jazz stand with Mitchell, general manager Justin Zanik said earlier during the NBA Las Vegas Summer League, “Things evolve in the NBA, so I couldn’t sit here and say anybody is [untouchable]. You know, we’re trying to build a championship team. But there’s no intent there at all.”


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