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As of Thursday afternoon, Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro has not been cleared to return from his hand injury, according to coach Erik Spoelstra. Herro broke his hand in the first game of the playoffs, and while some reporting indicated he would be able to return by Game 3 of the NBA Finals if not earlier, it appears he will remain out through Game 4 on Friday. 

"This is just part of the process," Spoelstra told reporters. "You have to go through stages. First part of it was just shooting, then movement, then contact versus coaches and then the next level of contact in practice. He has not been cleared for a game and he's still not cleared yet." 

Spoelstra added that Herro is in great spirits because, unlike weeks ago, he's able to work out and shoot. At this point, though, Miami is not ready to throw him into a Finals-intensity game. 

"He's a competitor," Spoelstra said. "He wants to be out there. And he was really excited at the beginning of this playoff run for the opportunity that we felt that we had with this team, but there's sometimes things that you can't control. So right now he's not cleared to take that next step. He's checked every box so far, but he's not at that next step yet to clear for an NBA Finals game. But he's doing everything he needs to do to take these next steps."

The Heat are down 2-1 against the Denver Nuggets, and, if Herro returns, it's unclear how exactly he'll fit in. In his absence, Gabe Vincent, Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson have generally thrived with increased offensive responsibility and the team has been able to lean on more defense-oriented lineups. Miami struggled on both ends on Wednesday, though, and there's an argument that they need Herro's scoring. 

If he's healthy enough to provide it, that is.