Miami Heat Need Justise Winslow, Luol Deng To Replace Chris Bosh

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Feb 23, 2016 10:15 AM EST
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Justise Winslow
Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow battles Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver during a 2016 game."

The Miami Heat continue to play short-handed. The team came out of the All-Star break looking like they could turn into contenders in the Eastern Conference and instead injuries have left them playing with depleted rosters more times than not. While it ihas been enough to beat the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers, Dwyane Wade doubts how long it will last.

The Heat are currently playing without Chris Bosh. Tyler Johnson is out after shoulder surgery. Beno Udrih is dealing with a foot injury. Luol Deng has a dislocated finger. The Heat had just 11 available players in their game against the Pacers and frustrations are beginning to mount. Wade had to play an extra 10 minutes in his return from knee soreness. Head coach Erik Spoelstra told ESPN that the team is simply trying to hold it together right now.

"We're holding it together, and you just keep moving forward," Spoelstra said, via ESPN.com. "You just keep on plugging away. You build up some resiliency from that. It's just been an interesting week."

There is no clarity on when certain players will get healthy, mainly Bosh. The forward is dealing with blood clot issues and according to Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post, there is no update on when he might return. The team is beginning to fear that Bosh might be out for the season. The same situation happened last year causing him to miss the second half of the season. Wade told ESPN that the Heat cannot wait for clarity on Bosh's situation, they must keep playing on.

"We're not waiting to get the word on him," Wade said, via ESPN. "We check up on him. That's our brother. But we know he's going to do everything possible to get back on the court with us. I can't wait on that, just like the last two games, they couldn't wait on me."

In the meantime, the Heat are working more with their depth than ever before. Goran Dragic and Deng are having to play extended minutes while Justise Winslow gets more time on the court as well. The Heat did not plan on having Winslow start games his rookie season, but that might begin to be more of the case as Deng moves to the power forward position. Winslow will be needed to take over Deng's spot as Spoelstra re-works the lineup.

"(Deng) is going to be out there a lot, Justise will be out there a lot, Dwyane (Wade) will be out there," Spoelstra said, via the Palm Beach Post. "Who's really the 2, the 3 or the 4? I don't want to cloud their minds with a conventional label. You want to have guys that can do multiple things, and Lu is one of those guys. He can guard a lot of different positions. You can play him in the paint, you can play him on the 3-point line. You can put him a lot of different places on the court, and he'll find a way to be effective. That goes the same for Justise."

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