MIAMI – It’s not like the Heat haven’t been down this road before.
Three additional players were sidelined for Thursday’s practice with Dion Waiters (ankle soreness), Hassan Whiteside (stomach flu) and Rodney McGruder (knee contusion), joining Willie Reed, who has missed the last two games with bursitis in his right ankle.
Coach Erik Spoelstra sounds pretty confident that Whiteside and McGruder will play Friday in Orlando (both are probable). Waiters and Reed, though, are questionable.
Spoelstra said Waiters, a major reason for the turnaround that has seen the Heat (28-33) win 17-of-20 games and move to within a game of the final playoff spot, was receiving treatment.
“He’s been able to manage pain before,” he said. “We’ll see.”
Waiters is averaging 20.5 points and 5.4 assists, while shooting 48.6 percent, in his last 15 games.
McGruder left the Heat’s win over Philadelphia on Wednesday during the third quarter because of the knee bruise. Waiters, though, finished the game and did not appear in discomfort. Whiteside received three stitches above his eye to close a cut following the game. That injury had nothing to do with him sitting out practice.
Miami, though, has overcome so much more all season having lost 249 games because of injuries and without three players (Chris Bosh, Justise Winslow, Josh McRoberts) who will miss the rest of the season.
“Like every other game, no excuses,” guard Goran Dragic said. “If someone can’t play other guys need to step in.”