MIAMI — Just when Wayne Ellington was starting to find a rhythm, he’s out with another injury.
Ellington is expected to miss his second consecutive game because of a strained right hamstring on Tuesday when the Heat (9-19) host the Magic. The 29-year-old suffered the injury in the third quarter of Friday’s loss to the Clippers.
“He did a workout [Monday], but he didn’t do anything on the court,” coach Erik Spoelstra said Monday. “I don’t anticipate he’ll play tomorrow, but we’ll still have him day-to-day.”
Along with Ellington, guard Rodney McGruder is questionable for Tuesday’s game after re-aggravating a sprained left ankle. McGruder is one of just three Heat players — Hassan Whiteside and Udonis Haslem are the other two — who has not missed a game due to an injury this season, while Ellington has already missed 17 games due to injury.
Ellington was forced to miss the first 16 games of the season with a right thigh contusion, but he’s optimistic this latest injury won’t keep him out as long. Spoelstra described it as a “slight strain” and Ellington described it as a “mild strain.”
“I think I’m being more cautious than anything,” Ellington said. “It’s not something that I’m in a great deal of pain or anything like that. It’s just something I felt in the third quarter of the Clippers game. I went to make a sharp cut. I was playing defense. And I just felt a little pain in a certain area in my hamstring.”
In the 11 games Ellington has played in this season, he’s averaged 12.9 points and shot 32.5 percent from 3-point range. He’s made eight starts.
With Chris Bosh, Dion Waiters and Ellington not expected to play against the Magic on Tuesday, the Heat will likely have — at most — 12 players available. If McGruder can’t play, Miami will have 11 players available.
Twelve Heat players (including Chris Bosh) have combined to miss 111 games due to injuries over the first 28 games of the season.
“We’ve been a little injury plagued, but it’s not an excuse for us,” Ellington said. “We’ve got a lot of guys at a lot of positions. So, it’s always the next man up. We’ll give other people opportunities and we just have to take advantage of it. I’m sure when we get everybody out there healthy we’ll be able to show what we can do together.”