Hassan Whiteside has missed each of the Miami Heat’s past three games with a bone bruise in his left knee, and he doesn’t sound like someone who’s planning to return in the near future.
From the Palm Beach Post‘s Anthony Chiang:
Whiteside will not travel for the team’s upcoming three-game trip, which begins Wednesday in San Antonio against the Spurs, as he continues to recover from a bone bruise on his left knee. This means the earliest Whiteside can make his return will be when the Heat return home to face the Trail Blazers on Dec. 13.
“He’ll do a lot of treatment, a lot of conditioning and whatever corrective strength exercises he can do,” coach Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday when asked about the plan for Whiteside while the Heat are on the road. . . .
“Just wait until it’s totally healed,” said Whiteside, who missed five games in October with a different bone bruise on his left knee. “I think I kind of rushed it before, so just wait until I’m totally 100 percent. So I don’t want to come back and be a watered-down Hassan and people looking at you crazy like, ‘What’s wrong with Hassan? Why is he not playing at this level?’ or whatever. I don’t even want to risk that.”
Whiteside missed five games earlier in the season with the same issue, so playing it slow and steady makes sense. The Heat only need to remain in the vicinity of .500 to contend for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Treading water where they are now without Whiteside, one game under .500, should ensure they’re ready to strike once he returns.
This, of course, assumes the Heat are a playoff team even with him in the fold. Though their defense is statistically better with him on the floor, their offense with him would place 29th in points scored per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com. Offense in general has been the Heat’s biggest problem, though. They have a great shot profile. Guys just aren’t getting buckets.
That only makes Whiteside’s presence in the middle so much more imperative. If the Heat aren’t going to be an average or better offensive unit, they need to be an elite defensive squad, something they’re not fully capable of without him regularly jumping center.