Erik Spoelstra returns to Miami Heat after birth of son

MIAMI (AP) — Santiago Ray Spoelstra’s father is back at work.

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, still wearing the bracelet from the hospital where his son was born, will be back on the bench Tuesday for his team’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Spoelstra missed Sunday’s game at Indiana, though revealed that he didn’t initially say the right thing when his wife Nikki called him to say it was baby time.

“As naive as I was, I made the comment to our doctor and Nikki on speakerphone, ‘OK, is this a fire drill?”‘ Spoelstra said. “And that’s when I proceeded to get screamed at.”

He made it home in plenty of time — and was there for the birth.

“Life-changing, obviously,” Spoelstra said. “Mom is great. Baby is great. … It’s been a blessing the last couple of days.”

It’s the first baby for the Spoelstras, and mother and son are expected to leave the hospital on Wednesday. Santiago was 6 pounds, 8 ounces and 19 inches long when he arrived. He was born about three weeks ahead of schedule, so his father — who decided long ago he wasn’t going to miss the birth, no matter where the team was at that point — wasn’t thinking last weekend on the Heat road trip that the arrival was imminent.

“My wife and I went through that drill many times. I was going to have my bag packed and ready,” Spoelstra said. “I figured I had at least another two more weeks to do that.”

Said Heat guard Dwyane Wade: “As he will find out, this is the greatest love that you will have. And I can’t wait until he experiences it.”

The Heat lost in overtime at Indiana on Sunday, with assistant coach Dan Craig taking Spoelstra’s spot. Spoelstra said he only watched about 45 seconds of the game, and his father-in-law snapped a photo of the new father with his son checking it out on his phone.