Miami Heat Center Omer Yurtseven Out Until March After Surgery

Omer Yurtseven, the backup center on the Miami Heat, underwent surgery to repair a lingering left ankle injury. He’s expected to miss at least three months of action, and the Heat are now looking to add a big man through a trade.

Miami Heat Center Omer Yurtseven Turkey injury surgery ankle
Miami Heat Center Omer Yurtseven Turkey injury surgery ankle
Miami Heat center Omar Yurtseven, seen here in action last season, missed the first month of this season with an ankle injury. (Image: Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Yurtseven suffered an ankle injury in the preseason and missed the first 13 games of the regular season. The Heat listed Yurtseven with a left ankle impingement on the injury report.

The Miami Herald reported that an unnamed source classified Yurtseven’s injury as a “bone-spur issue in his ankle.”

After resting for over a month, the ankle injury did not improve. Yurtseven and the Heat decided that surgery would be the best option going forward.

The Heat indicated they expect Yurtseven to return sometime in March after recovering from surgery.

After a slow 2-5 start this season, the Heat recently improved to 6-7 with a 4-2 record since the start of November. The Heat are ranked #10 in the Eastern Conference, and sit in third place in the Southeast Division.

During the preseason, the Heat were +2000 odds to win the 2023 NBA championship and were the betting favorite to win the Southeast Division at -165 odds. DraftKings updated their NBA futures board, and the Heat slipped to +3000 odds to win the championship. The first-place Atlanta Hawks are the new betting favorite to win the Southeast at -150 odds, while the Heat are second on the board at +170 odds.

Yurtseven: Journey from Turkey to South Beach

Yurtseven was born in Uzbekistan, but both of his parents were from Turkey. He was a standout player on the Turkish under-18 national team and led Turkey to a silver medal in the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship in 2015. He was only 16-years old when he made his EuroLeague debut for Fenerbahce from a Turkish pro league based in Istanbul.

Yurtseven played college basketball for two different teams. He spent two seasons with North Carolina State before transferring to Georgetown. He started 25 games at center with Georgetown in the 2019-20 season, and averaged 15.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

Yurtseven went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft. He spent time in the NBA G League with the Oklahoma Blue before he latched on with the Miami Heat.

During his rookie season with the Heat in 2021-22, Yurtseven averaged 5.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Head coach Erik Spoelstra took a shine to Yurtseven, and started him in 12 games last season.

The Heat had high expectations for Yurtseven heading into his second season as a backup center behind Bam Adebayo.

Heat Explore Trade Options

Dewayne Dedmon moved up on the Heat’s depth chart as the backup center when Yurtseven missed the start of the season. In 11 games this season, Dedmon averaged 5.8 points and 3.4 rebounds off the bench.

The Heat signed undrafted rookie center Orlando Robinson out of Fresno State to fill in the empty roster spot. Robinson played for the Miami Heat’s summer league team, but started out this season on their G League affiliate squad. In four games with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Robinson averaged 20 points and 9.3 rebounds per game before earning a promotion to the Heat.

With Yurtseven out for several months, the Heat are shopping for a veteran big man. The undersized Heat seek to add depth to their front line.

Jae Crowder has been sitting out this season with Phoenix Suns. The power forward demanded a trade in the preseason after the Suns lowballed him during contract extension negotiations. Crowder has been linked in trade rumors with the Heat, because they need a 3-and-D player to bolster their roster. The Suns like shooting guard Max Strus and would like to include him in any deal for Crowder.

Crowder spent one season with the Miami Heat in 2019-20 and was a part of their team that won the Eastern Conference and made a trip to the 2020 NBA Finals.  During his brief stint with the Heat, Crowder averaged 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting 44.5% from 3-point range.

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