MIAMI – Hassan Whiteside went from doubtful to out for the Heat’s home game tonight against Minnesota.
Whiteside went through the full shootaround today but coach Erik Spoelstra said the 7-foot center would miss his fifth consecutive game when the Heat (2-3) face the Timberwolves (3-3) at 7:30 p.m. game at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“I’m very encouraged by the progress he is making,” Spoelstra said following today shootaround. He added it was not full contact. “He’ll do more conditioning right now, do treatment, hopefully do another workout this afternoon.”
Guard Wayne Ellington is sick and did not go through shootaround. Spoelstra is hoping he will play tonight.
Whiteside bruised a bone in his left knee in the Oct. 18 season opener in Orlando, a game in which he scored 26 points and pulled down 22 rebounds. He got back on the court Friday, although very limited as he worked with coaches following practice. He then went through a full non-contact workout Sunday before today’s workout.
The Heat are 2-2 since Whiteside was injured in the season opener at Orlando. The most notable difference in the team has been its inability to stop teams from scoring in the paint, allowing 48.8 per game, which is sixth worst in the league. The Heat also are 21st in the league with a 106.7 defensive rating.
Miami now will have to deal with emerging Timberwolves star Karl Anthony-Towns, who is averaging 24.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. The versatile 7-footer could be a matchup nightmare for the Heat, who have started 6-8 Jordan Mickey and 6-10 rookie Bam Adebayo two games each at center in Whiteside’s absence.