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Eddy Curry nearing return for Heat

New York Knicks' Nate Robinson, left, Eddy Curry,

New York Knicks' Nate Robinson, left, Eddy Curry, center, and Stephon Marbury, right, look on during the first half of a basketball game against the Miami Heat. (March 26, 2008) Photo Credit: AP

That buzz you've heard on Twitter this morning? Eddy Curry's coming.

One of the league's punching bags because of weight fluctuations, a bloated contract and a general inability to stay healthy, Curry got some extra burn at Heat practice today, according to ESPN's Tom Haberstroh. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said Curry may get some minutes Thursday against the Lakers.

A decade ago -- yes, it's been that long -- Curry looked like a promising up-and-comer. In his second year with Chicago, he shot 58.5 percent from the floor, averaging 19.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per 36 minutes.

He was dealt to the Knicks in a blockbuster trade in 2005, and had a career year in the 2006-07 season. At 24 years old, Curry averaged career highs in points (19.5), rebounds (7.0) and minutes (35.2), and started 81 games.

Shortly thereafter, Curry began to flame out. He put up solid numbers in 2007-08, averaging 18.4 points and 6.5 rebounds, but missed 23 games due to injury. He showed up to camp out of shape the following season, Mike D'Antoni's first year as head coach, and played just 10 more games in a Knicks uniform.

The Heat took a flier on Curry -- still just 29 years old -- signing him to a $1.3 million deal in the offseason. Curry strained his left hip flexor prior to the start of the season, though, and has been working his way back since.

All told, Curry hasn't seen game action since Dec. 17, 2009, against the Chicago Bulls.

Can a slimmed down version of Curry help Miami's lack of depth at center? The smart answer is no: the Heat need a capable rebounder out of the five, and the 7-footer has averaged a sub-par 7.5 boards per 36 minutes over his career.

Remember, though: the Heat start Joel Anthony, an offensive liability, at center. In a new setting, with a trio of superstars surrounding him, Miami is hoping Curry can offer a decent inside scoring option off the bench.

Video below of Curry at Heat practice today shared by Haberstroh on Twitter.

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