LOS ANGELES — Hassan Whiteside is back with the Heat, but the effects of his right retinal contusion are still visible.
Miami’s $98 million center still had a red streak on the side of his right eyeball as he sat in front of his locker before Friday’s game against the Lakers at the Staples Center.
But Whiteside isn’t feeling quite as bad as he did a few days ago after suffering the injury when he was inadvertently poked in his right eye by Jae Crowder in last Friday’s loss to the Celtics. Whiteside rejoined the team in Los Angeles on Friday after staying back in Miami for the first two games of the six-game trip in Phoenix and Sacramento because he was not cleared to fly due to the eye injury.
“It’s a lot better,” Whiteside said Friday night. “The headaches went away. I ‘m not seeing double anymore. So, I can see a lot of better and a lot of pain went away.”
Whiteside did not play against the Lakers on Friday, but he’s hopeful he will return Sunday against the Clippers after missing four games with the eye injury. And he plans to return without goggles.
“I’ve just got to feel myself out there, get back into the same groove of things and let the game to me,” Whiteside said when asked about his chances of playing Sunday.
The eye injury gave Whiteside headaches up until Friday morning, but he says he’s “getting less and less” as time goes on. Although the injury forced Whiteside to miss his first four games of the season, he’s just thankful it didn’t turn out to be a serious issue like a retinal detachment.
“They were just worried that if I got hit in it again, it can really mess with my retina. That could require surgery,” Whiteside said. “But thankfully I didn’t have a detached retina so everything came out OK.”
Whiteside is averaging 17.3 points and a league-leading 14.3 rebounds this season.