MIAMI — Dion Waiters, Luke Babbitt and Josh McRoberts tried to convince coach Erik Spoelstra to play them Monday night.
But it didn’t work, as Waiters will miss Monday’s game against Cleveland. If Babbitt and McRoberts do end up dressing for the contest, “it would be more just as support,” according to Spoelstra.
“I walked into shootaround today and literally everybody told me they are playing tonight,” Spoelstra said with a smile. “Does that mean they are? No. Including Dion told me that. You think I listen to him?”
Waiters will miss his 12th consecutive game Monday with a sprained left ankle he suffered on March 17 against the Timberwolves. Miami has recorded a 5-6 record without him entering its matchup against Cleveland.
Josh Richardson has started in Waiters’ spot, averaging 11.7 points on 40.7 percent shooting from the field and 42.0 percent shooting from 3-point range in those 11 games as his fill-in. Richardson has also been effective on the defensive end, taking the responsibility of guarding elite perimeter players like DeMar DeRozan and John Wall.
Babbitt traveled with the team on their recent three-game trip, but he did not play in any of the games after straining his right hip flexor in a loss to the Nuggets on April 2. James Johnson has excelled in Babbitt’s spot as Miami’s starting power forward, averaging 21 points and 8.3 rebounds in those three games.
Monday’s game would mark the fourth consecutive contest Babbitt has missed with his current injury.
Meanwhile, McRoberts has been sidelined since December with a stress fracture in his left foot. But he’s moving closer to a return after going through a full-contact practice last week for the first time since the injury.
No more stitches for Hassan?: Hassan Whiteside has been playing with 13 stitches in his right hand for almost three weeks. But the Heat center hopes to get those stitches out Monday.
“I’m going to see if I can take them off today,” Whiteside said Monday morning. “That would be awesome if I can.”
Whiteside suffered a right hand laceration on March 21 in a win over the Suns when he went up to block a shot and got his hand caught on the backboard. The backboard pulled Whiteside’s right middle and ring fingers apart, creating the laceration.
Whiteside has not missed any time with the injury, and has averaged 16.8 points and 12.9 rebounds in the nine games he’s played with 13 stitches in between his right middle and ring fingers.