Rashard Lewis returns to Heat for preseason finale

MIAMI — Rashard Lewis rejoined the Miami Heat for Friday night’s preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets after missing nearly two weeks because of a death in the family.

The veteran forward spent the time in Los Angeles following the death of his brother-in-law, who had lived with the player’s family for a year when Lewis played for the Seattle SuperSonics.

Lewis said he didn’t want to discuss the situation in detail because but it still too painful. He clearly was happy to be back with the Heat after missing four preseason games.

“If anything, being around the guys in the locker room, on the basketball, is kind of a safe haven — it makes you forget about all that,” said Lewis, who practiced with the team Thursday.

“I think when you’re at home, is when you kind of reminisce. Being around these guys and getting a lot of support from these guys does help you go on with your normal life.”

Lewis said he managed to do cardio workouts and lift weights during his absence from the team.

“The treadmill at 24 Hour Fitness couldn’t hold my weight,” he said with a smile. “It’s never the same as running up and down the basketball court. I did what what I could, but most of the time I was doing stuff back there with the family.”

Lewis is beginning his 16th NBA season and second with the Heat. Like last season, he figures to be deep on Miami’s bench.

“Hopefully, I think the opportunity will be there (for more minutes), but at the same time, we still have a lot of the same guys,” Lewis said. “When my name is called, I most definitely have to always be ready.”

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said Lewis would play against the Nets.

“It will be a great mental diversion for him,” Spoelstra said.

Charlie McCarthy can be reached at mac1763@bellsouth.net or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas.