Beginning Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Miami Heat will honor the victims of Feb. 14’s tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with jersey patches and pins for the Heat’s coaching staff.
The black patches, located on the shoulder area of the Heat’s uniforms, say “MSD” in simple lettering. Miami’s coaching staff and broadcast team also debuted silver pins with “Stoneman Douglas” and the school’s Eagle mascot Friday at the Smoothie King Center.
The Heat will continue to honor victims of the Parkland, Florida, shooting for the remainder of the season with patches and pins.
“It’s an absolute honor for us to wear these patches,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Players will be wearing them on their jerseys, as well. I know I speak for everybody in that locker room and everybody in the organization, we’re so very inspired by the leadership, courage and absolute fearlessness of the kids and young men and women at Stoneman Douglas.
“It’s such a tragic event, but we hear their voices loud and clear. We are behind them, but this is only the start.”
Jackson (foot), Hill (hamstring) remain sidelined
Solomon Hill and Frank Jackson have missed the entire 2017-18 season with injuries and neither returned Friday against the Heat.
Neither Hill’s left hamstring or Jackson’s right foot are expected to fully heal by Sunday’s tipoff at Milwaukee. But, with their statuses remaining largely unknown, it appears they're not far from joining the Pelicans for the first time this season.
“It’s more weekly than I think it is anything,” coach Alvin Gentry said before Friday's game. “They’re on a good pace right now. I can’t say it’s going to be back in a week or two weeks, but I think it’s just one of those deals where we’re still monitoring. They’re a heck of a long way from where they were a month ago.”
Jackson, who had surgery on Sept. 1 to repair a right foot fracture, was initially expected to return in January. The 6-foot-3 rookie guard has missed all 58 games, but has begun to somewhat participate in practices, Gentry said.
As soon as next week, Jackson is expected to be able to participate on the floor against no defense.
“A little bit,” Gentry said. “He has. That’s the other one that we’re being real cautious with. I think in a week or so that he’ll be able to do some 5 on 0 stuff. But once again, we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Gentry said the Pelicans will continue to “err on the side of caution” regarding Hill and Jackson’s injuries and will not rush the recovery process as 24 games remain following Friday’s game.
Following Hill’s surgery in August to repair his torn hamstring, the Pelicans’ starting small forward’s recovery time was listed as four to six months, or March.
Lemon, Jr. joins Pelicans
Walter Lemon, Jr. excelled in the Gatorade League, the NBA's developmental league. Because of the success, he’s now with the Pelicans and his NBA debut came Friday.
New Orleans signed Lemon, Jr. to a 10-day contract on Feb. 21 for his versatility and hot-handed scoring potential as the Pelicans careen toward their first playoff push in years.
Lemon, Jr., a 25-year-old guard who has appeared internationally in Germany, Hungary, Turkey and Greece, started in 36 games with the G League’s Fort Worth Mad Ants and averaged 22.7 points in 37.0 minutes per game.
“We think that he’s a high energy guy,” Gentry said. “But he’s been playing well in the (G League). And we just felt like we may need an additional ball handler and bodies, so we thought he was a great guy to take a look at.”