Wednesday , Dec , 07 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Heat still about a week away from Shaq’s return

(Sports Network) – The Miami Heat could really use All-Star center Shaquille
O’Neal tonight, as they visit the world champion San Antonio Spurs at the SBC
Center.

This is the first of two meetings between the clubs this season. The Heat are
scheduled to host the Spurs on January 20, 2006 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Spurs have won seven of 10 and 10 of the last 14 contests in this series.
Miami has lost seven straight at San Antonio and is 1-17 all-time on the road
against the Spurs.

Miami’s only win at San Antonio was on December 23, 1996.

Shaq is still sidelined with an ankle injury and has not played since November
3rd, when the Heat lost to the Indiana Pacers, 105-102, in front of their home
crowd. Miami is 9-7 without its dominant center.

O’Neal;, though, has begun practicing with the team and could return at some
point next weekend.

Miami plays the finale of a five-game road trip and enters tonight’s game on a
two-game losing streak. The Heat are 2-2 on the current swing. On Monday,
Elton Brand finished with 37 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles
Clippers over the Heat, 99-89, at Staples Center.

Dwyane Wade scored 29 points and grabbed six rebounds in the loss to the
Clippers for Miami, while center Alonzo Mourning put up 17 points and pulled
down 12 boards for the Heat, who have lost four of their last seven contests
overall.

The Heat are 3-6 as the visitor this season. They return home on Friday to
host Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets.

MIA