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Heat start practice with some midnight madness

MIAMI — In his opening address to the Miami Heat this season, coach Pat Riley warned that he was making some changes.

He didn't wait long to prove his point, either.

Most NBA teams, including Miami, couldn't open training camp until Tuesday. So at 12:01 a.m., the earliest moment allowed by league rules, the Heat hit the floor for their first official workout of the season — nine hours ahead of the schedule Riley originally set.

"I like the concept, I really did," Heat center Alonzo Mourning said. "Just to get in and get on the court before everybody else and try to get the right energy going and start building toward that championship goal. I liked it. I really did."

Players were on the practice court until about 2:30 a.m., then back at 11 a.m. for a team lunch and an afternoon practice.

"A couple guys got sleepy," Heat center Shaquille O'Neal said. "But once we got to running, it woke them up."

Three players were held out of Tuesday's workouts because they didn't meet offseason conditioning goals, including forward Antoine Walker, who was briefly suspended last season because his body-fat level wasn't in line with team mandates.

Riley said Walker, reserve center Earl Barron and newcomer guard Smush Parker "are close" to passing their conditioning tests. While 17 other members of the Heat training camp roster were upstairs on the practice floor Tuesday afternoon, that trio was on stationary bikes and treadmills.

"Pat has his philosophy on that and some guys agree with it, some guys don't," O'Neal said. "He's going to start putting his foot down on the rules and it's just like going to school. No pass, no play. You've got to pass all the given requirements, or you won't play."

Players said they had no issue with the midnight workout, other than it simply meant rearranging their sleep schedules. Udonis Haslem said he wasn't asleep until 4 a.m., and O'Neal didn't drift off until 5.

Haslem said he understood Riley's thinking, adding that the coach even quoted him during that first team meeting.

"I said we had to take things serious from day one," Haslem said. "So I guess he took it literally, as in minute one of the first day that we can practice, because we were on the floor at 12:01."

STOUDEMIRE SURGERY SUCCESSFUL: Phoenix Suns center Amare Stoudemire underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday.

Team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Thomas Carter performed the surgery at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital. As expected, a loose particle that caused inflamation was removed from Stoudemire's right knee.

The two-time All-Star is expected to resume basketball activities in two to three weeks. The Suns opened training camp on Tuesday in Tucson.

Stoudemire had microfracture surgery on his left knee two years ago, forcing him to miss nearly all of the 2005-06 season.

JACKSON MULLING FUTURE: Phil Jackson hopes to reach a decision on his coaching future in the next four weeks.

Jackson, who turned 62 last month, is in the final season of the three-year, $30 million contract he signed before the 2005-06 season.

"I just told Dr. Buss it hinged upon my recovery," Jackson said Tuesday, referring to Lakers owner Jerry Buss. "Hopefully that doesn't run into the season, when wins and losses become a priority."

WILLIAMS REGAINING FOCUS: Indiana Pacers forward Shawne Williams is ready to focus on the upcoming NBA season now that he's accepted his punishment for off-court legal troubles.

Williams, a first-round draft pick last year out of Memphis, was ordered Monday to perform 40 hours of community service and fined $400 after pleading guilty to driving without ever receiving a license.

"I'm just going to own up, be held accountable for my actions and be ready to play ball," Williams said Tuesday following the Pacers' first training camp practice at Conseco Fieldhouse.

WARRIORS HIRE MONCRIEF: Five-time NBA All-Star Sidney Moncrief was hired as a shooting coach Tuesday by the Golden State Warriors.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Moncrief was with the Warriors as they opened training camp.