MIAMI (AP) — Heat forward Udonis Haslem played through much of the second half of Miami's season with a torn right meniscus, and told The Associated Press that surgery will be required to repair the previously undisclosed injury.
Haslem made the revelation Saturday after a promotional appearance where hundreds of Heat fans began lining up to see the Miami native five hours before he arrived. Surgery will occur soon, he said, and Haslem expects to be ready for training camp this fall.
"It forces me to be smart and take my time with recovery this summer," said Haslem, who just completed his 10th NBA season, all with Miami. "Obviously, I don't heal like I used to so I've got to be a lot smarter and this forces me to be smart. My body's a little weary right now, a lot more weary than it was after last year."
Haslem averaged 3.9 points in 75 regular-season games this past season for the Heat, who captured their second straight NBA title. Haslem and Dwyane Wade are the only players who have been part of all three of Miami's NBA championship clubs.
He only missed three games before the final week of the regular season, sitting out Dec. 10 against Atlanta with flu-like symptoms, Dec. 29 against Milwaukee with a neck contusion and Feb. 14 against Oklahoma City after remaining back in Miami with what the team called a bruised right leg. Haslem got hurt two nights earlier, leaving a Feb. 12 home game against Portland after only nine minutes.
Haslem played 50 games after that injury, including Miami's playoff run.
"I'm already thinking about recovery," Haslem said.
It's already been a hectic offseason for Miami, which made the decision to use a team option and keep starting point guard Mario Chalmers and had three other players — Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis and James Jones — all exercise their player-option rights to return next season. Just about everyone in the organization, including Heat President Pat Riley and stars LeBron James and Wade, said they wanted those players to stick around for another year.
The next decision that should affect the Heat is the one that will be made by forward Chris "Birdman" Andersen, who becomes a free agent on Monday. Miami wants him back badly, and the Heat were 54-8 in games where Andersen played this season.