Heat still without six players – three starters – for consecutive home games against Dallas, New Orleans

Miami Heat center Kelly Olynyk (9) reacts after a hard landing after his dunk against Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving during Wednesday’s game in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

MIAMI – The Heat will not receive any relief from their injured players the next two nights.

Coach Erik Spoelstra said Goran Dragic (sore left elbow), Justise Winslow (strained left knee), Hassan Whiteside (left knee bruise) and James Johnson (right ankle bursitis) definitely are out for tonight’s 8 p.m. game against Dallas.

While Whiteside and Johnson will not play in the second night of the rare home back-to-back – Miami hosts New Orleans on Saturday – Spoelstra added he also does not anticipate Winslow and Dragic being ready for the Pelicans game.

Miami will have 10 available players each night.

“It’s definitely tough,” said Kelly Olynyk, who scored a career-high 32 points in the Heat’s victory at Boston on Wednesday.

“You’re short staffed, you’re short manned, you’re going to have to play long minutes. But it’s also fun. You know what you’re getting yourself into. You know what you’ve got going in. You know you’re going to have to play through some things whether it’s tough stretches or foul trouble. You make a couple of mistakes you’re going to have to play though it and you got the luxury to play through it and you don’t always get that when there’s a full roster.”

Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery) and Okaro White (left foot surgery) still are not close to returning although McGruder “was able to get on the court, do some shooting and a decent amount of movement.”

The Heat are relieved Olynyk did not find his way on the injury list. He hyper-extended  his left knee when landing awkwardly after a big dunk late in the Boston game.

“I’m feeling alright,” Olynyk said today. “I kind of came down awkward. Everything subsided. I’m just a little sore that’s all.”

The Heat played with nine available players in their loss at Atlanta on Monday and 10 against the Celtics, adding Matt Williams Jr. from the Skyforce.

Winslow and Dragic appear closer to returning, possibly when the Heat come back after Christmas to host the Magic Dec. 26. Winslow has missed four games and Dragic two.

Johnson has sat two games and the Heat put a 7- to 10-day timetable on his injury, which means he will be sidelines three to five more games.

Whiteside will miss his 12th consecutive game tonight. And although it has been 22 days since the Heat said he would miss one to two weeks before being re-evaluated. Spoelstra insists he is making progress.

“He is getting better,” Spoelstra said. “(Thursday) he was doing for the first time basketball related work with coaches. … out there 35 minutes, conditioning afterward. We’ll build on that.

It’s trending in the right direction. I’m very encouraged by the last week.”

Spoelstra was asked if Whiteside is ready for contact in practice.

“Not at that point yet,” he said.

Josh Richardson, who is averaging 24.3 points in his last three games, said the Heat must bring that same mindset into this weekend they did into Boston.

“It’s next man up,” he said. “It’s not anything special that the guys playing have to do. We know we have to bring our hard hats because it’s going to be a tough game both days.”

[Miami Heat staying busy in the community during holiday season]

[Heat’s message to Kelly Olynyk: ‘Look what happens when you shoot the ball’]

[Erik Spoelstra won’t let players look ahead, but Heat know upcoming stretch of home games is important … very important]

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