Heat contact NBA over Cavaliers’ ‘dangerous’ raised court, per report

The Miami Heat have contacted the NBA to express their concerns with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ raised floor, according to Joe Vardon. Miami did so in the wake of guard Dru Smith’s season-ending knee injury, which happened as a result of the Cavaliers’ unique floor situation.

Early in the second quarter of the Heat’s win over the Cavaliers on Nov. 22, Smith rushed out to the corner to contest a 3-pointer by Max Strus. His momentum carried him towards the Cavaliers’ bench, where he landed on a piece of paper with stats from the first quarter. That caused him to slip off the edge of the court, and his knee buckled, resulting in a third-degree ACL sprain.

“It’s a dangerous floor,” Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said on Nov. 22. “I don’t know the history of injuries here, but we’ve had a couple near scares in previous years when guys are closing out in that corner. Thankfully, nobody’s been injured before but it’s an accident waiting to happen. You close out and all of a sudden you’re going off a cliff. It’s just so dangerous. As soon as he stayed down, we all knew that’s probably what happened.”

Spoelstra shared further thoughts on Nov. 24 prior to the Heat’s loss to the New York Knicks.

“Maybe this is something that can be addressed with the league moving forward,” Spoelstra said. “I doubt anything will change with the floor. It is a hazard in our mind and probably in a lot of other teams’ minds, too.”

LeBron James, who returned to Cleveland on Nov. 25 in the Lakers’ win over the Cavaliers, and, of course, spent over a decade with the franchise, agreed that something needs to change.

“Yes, the league should look at it. They should address it,” James said, adding that Smith’s injury was “unfortunate.”

The Cavaliers have been playing with the raised floor for decades. Quicken Loans Arena, which opened in 1994, is also home to the Cleveland Monsters, a minor-league hockey team that serves as the top affiliate for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. There is wood that separates the ice from the court, which creates the raised floor. It is unclear why the Cavaliers have such a significant drop, however, given that other arenas with ice underneath the floor do not have the same issue.

Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff downplayed the danger prior to the team’s loss to the Lakers on Nov. 25.

“Our guys are comfortable playing here,” Bickerstaff said. “We haven’t had any incidents [involving Cavaliers players] because of how our floor is built.”

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