Sports

Chalmers injures his ankle

Two weeks ago, Mario Chalmers was the last man standing for the Miami Heat, the only player the team had under contract.

Now he no longer is standing.

The Heat announced Wednesday that the second-year point guard was injured Monday while playing during offseason workouts. He suffered a high left ankle sprain and will be in a cast for two to four weeks, to be reevaluated thereafter.

Training camp opens Sept. 28.

Chalmers is the only point guard currently under contract, with a goal of regaining the starting position he lost last season to Carlos Arroyo and Rafer Alston.

"I'm confident," the 2008 second-round draft choice said during his offseason workouts. "You've got to go in there and prove yourself and work hard like I did my first year."

Chalmers said he has been watching tapes of Tim Hardaway and John Stockton, to refine his skills.

"Those are two great point guards, and especially Tim Hardaway being from Miami and playing for Miami and having success here," he said. "It's good to see what he did, see if I could add some of his stuff to my game."

Roster rebuild — So far, Pat Riley's timing has been immaculate.

The Miami Heat president isn't about to mess that up now.

So patience has become a byproduct of one of the NBA's most dramatic makeovers in decades.

With free agency requiring a keen sense of timing, the Heat has found itself having to take a brief pause in the process.

What the team doesn't want is a repeat of its missteps of 1996, when timing issues over contracts cost the team the rights to Juwan Howard.

So, first, Michael Beasley must push past the final round of clearance in Minnesota, with that trade to the Timberwolves to become official today.

Then, with the cap space cleared in that transaction, the Heat will formally sign off on its acquisition of Washington Wizards free-agent swingman Mike Miller.

Once that move puts that Heat at the 2010-11 salary cap, Riley can commence signing players at the league's minimum scale, with Cleveland Cavaliers free-agent center Zydrunas Ilgausksas and Portland Trail Blazers free agent forward Juwan Howard, yes, that same Howard, to be added shortly thereafter.

At that point, the Heat will be able to re-sign center Joel Anthony, a restricted free agent who has spent the past three seasons in South Florida and is the only player from the 2009-10 Heat roster still with his Bird Rights. That mechanism will allow the Heat to exceed the league's soft salary cap to retain the shot-blocker.

And then the free-for-all can begin, veterans lining up to join the impending thrill show headlined by the recent free-agency haul of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Among names already floated with potential interest in the Heat are Tracy McGrady, Jerry Stackhouse, Eddie House, Keyon Dooling, Jason Williams and Rasual Butler, and that does not even include members of the 2009-10 Heat who could be called back for encores, such as James Jones, Carlos Arroyo and Jamaal Magloire.

"We still have a lot of people that want to be a part of it that we can add," Wade said, "but we're just waiting to make sure we add the right people."

  Comments