Gerald Green returns to Heat practice, expresses remorse
MIAMI -- Gerald Green returned to practice with the Miami Heat on Saturday, though what exactly caused his extended absence from the team remains a closely guarded secret.
Green expressed remorse for the incident but did not offer any new details on what happened at his apartment building Nov. 4.
"This whole situation, to me, was an incident that I'm ashamed of," Green said. "I'm just trying to get over this situation. I can't apologize enough to the residents that live in my building, my fans who support me and definitely my family and definitely this organization that's had my back. It's a situation I'm not proud of, but I'm ready to move forward."
Green has missed Miami's past six games. He was suspended for the last two for what the Heat described only as conduct detrimental to the team. That suspension cost him about $25,000.
"We're happy that he's back and he's happy that he's back," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "Basketball, for all of us, is our sanctuary. It's our way away from a lot of things. It's when we get to come in here and just be kids, be boys, be homies, be great at what we do and forget about a lot of things on the outside. It was good to have G back."
Green's suspension ended Thursday night. The Heat (6-3) did not practice Friday, but Green appeared alongside teammates and coaches at an event for season ticket holders at a downtown Miami hotel that evening.
"I'm healthy," Green said. "Ready to go. I'm excited to be back and happy to be back."
The saga began Nov. 3, when Green called in sick for a game against Atlanta.
The next morning, according to Miami police, Green went to the lobby of his apartment building with bloodied hands and asked a front-desk worker for help. He then fell on a valet parking ramp adjacent to the front doors, punched a man after getting up and was so combative with rescue personnel that police had to handcuff him for the ambulance ride to the hospital.
Green was hospitalized for about 24 hours. He was in regular contact with the team throughout his absence, and no charges related to the punch or any other element of the incident have been filed.
"I'm deeply saddened for what happened but I'm ready to move on," Green said. "I'm glad that the Miami Heat organization had my back."
Green averaged 10.3 points in the first three games of the season. He is expected to be available when Miami hosts Minnesota on Tuesday.
Miami's rotation changed significantly during Green's absence. Mario Chalmers was traded to Memphis, and Tyler Johnson emerged as a key to the second unit after shooting 58 percent and averaging 12 points over his last three games (all wins). Just like so many other elements of this saga, it's unclear how Miami will integrate Green back into the fold.
"Gerald is an integral part of what we're trying to do," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We'll work him back in at a healthy rate. What that'll be on Tuesday, I don't know right now."
Wade was also back with the team Saturday. He missed Thursday's win over Utah, excused because his son Zion was taken to a hospital. Wade cited a need for family privacy when declining to say if the boy has been sent home yet, and he also didn't say what happened for the same reasons.
"He's doing better," Wade said. "I appreciate everybody's support and prayers. ... He's doing a lot better each day."
Barring any complications, Wade expects to play Tuesday as well.
Miami's current three-game winning streak is the team's longest since it started last season 3-0. The Heat's last four-game winning streak was from March 28-April 2, 2014. ... Through Friday, Miami ranked No. 1 in the NBA in points allowed (90.2 per game), second in 3-point percentage defense (.293, topped only by Golden State's .289 going into its home game against Brooklyn on Saturday night), and second by a sliver in field-goal percentage defense (.4089, with Chicago leading the league at .4085).