Heat center Hassan Whiteside’s knee feeling better, will start today against the Bulls

Heat center Hassan Whiteside will play against Chicago after missing Saturday’s practice because of a sore left knee. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

CHICAGO – The soreness and swelling in Hassan Whiteside’s left knee has diminished and the Heat center will start today against the Bulls.

Whiteside logged 24 minutes, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, in Miami’s win at Minnesota Friday. He then sat out Saturday’s practice because of soreness and swelling and coach Erik Spoelstra said he would be evaluated today before making a decision on his availability.

Whiteside then warmed up and declared himself ready to go allowing Spoelstra to start the same five – Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Whiteside – for the ninth straight game.

Spoelstra said today the decision not to practice Whiteside Saturday was not unusual.

“This is more just the modern day NBA the fact we have to tell you guys,” Spoelstra said. “Normally it just would have been a rest day, treatment day with the plan to play today.”

Whiteside was asked if skipping occasional practices could be a way to manage the injury going forward.

“Yeah, time will tell,” he said.

Whiteside missed five games earlier this season after banging knees with Magic center Nikola Vucevic in the season opener. The bruise has yet to completely heal.

“It’s still been sore,” Whiteside said Saturday. “It’s just been sore. So it’s going to take a while before I’m actually 100 percent back where I was, when I was in Orlando.”

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