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dirt_dobber
11-09-2005, 10:05 AM
Heat dismisses talk of trouble

By Chris Perkins

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

MIAMI On Monday, an in-game spat between guard Jason Williams and forward Antoine Walker caused the Heat to get hit with a delay of game penalty. There was more silliness at practice Tuesday.

Shaquille O'Neal sat on the sideline of the practice court with his sprained right ankle in a hard cast. Only the All-Star center had cut one of his size-23 Jumpman-brand shoes and modified it so he could wear it over the cast. O'Neal, who could miss three weeks with the sprain, didn't talk to reporters Tuesday, but his teammates said he has plans for his invention.

"He said he's going to sell it at Target," guard Gary Payton said.

And just like that, things are back to normal with the Heat (2-2), which plays Indiana (2-1) at 8 tonight at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

As for the argument between Williams and Walker late in the third quarter of Monday's 90-89 victory over New Jersey, everyone says it's over.

After Monday's game, Walker said he was in the wrong place on the play. After Tuesday's practice, Williams said they were both in the wrong place.

Coach Stan Van Gundy said the only reason the episode has received attention is because people expect such antics from the high-profile, talent-laden Heat.

"If that's Detroit and Rasheed Wallace is yelling at somebody, that's a veteran team with leadership getting on each other, but because of the way our guys have been portrayed, then it's like a problem," Van Gundy said.

"It's just laughable it happened. It happens all the time. Those guys got together on the bench and worked it out two minutes later, and there's no problem."

On the positive side Heat forward James Posey, out since Oct. 22 with a sprained right thumb, could return for Saturday's game against Charlotte.

Posey, a starter, said he is trying to get used to playing with a splint, but he said he's adjusting to things such as shooting, rebounding and catching the ball.

"At first it was a lot of pain," he said. "Now it doesn't feel too bad."

Posey's addition would go a long way toward helping the Heat defend small forwards such as New Jersey's Richard Jefferson and Indiana's Ron Artest.

It also would provide another body in Miami's seven-man rotation, which faces the prospect of playing three games in the next four days.

Van Gundy has managed the limited rotation well. With O'Neal and Posey out, along with center Michael Doleac (calf) and forward Shandon Anderson (back), the Heat's bench was left with three rookies (center Earl Barron, guard Matt Walsh and forward Wayne Simien) and a second-year player (guard Dorell Wright).

Doleac, originally projected to return by last week's opening day, said Tuesday that he's not sure when his strained left calf will allow him back on the court.

Anderson, also expected to return by the opener, is uncertain when he'll return. He said he's still bothered by back stiffness.

"I'm just trying to get it back to where I can bend down and get in position," he said.

Until then, the Heat will take solace in Posey's possible return, and hope it can conjure up enough answers to handle the Pacers, who have defeated Miami in 13 of their past 14 regular-season games.

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