Miami Heat

Unclear if Hassan Whiteside will play when Heat faces Bulls Sunday

Hassan Whiteside on sitting out practice Saturday

Whiteside said he has still experienced soreness at times from the bone bruise in his left knee he suffered at the start of the season.
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Whiteside said he has still experienced soreness at times from the bone bruise in his left knee he suffered at the start of the season.

Hassan Whiteside sat out the Miami Heat’s practice on Saturday at DePaul University with soreness in his left knee related to the bone bruise he suffered at the beginning of the season.

Whiteside scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 24 minutes and eight seconds Friday night in the Heat’s 109-97 win over the Timberwolves.

Whiteside said that he intends to play on Sunday when the Heat face the Chicago Bulls and Miami tries to win its third consecutive game, but his status is questionable.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said that Whiteside would be evaluated pregame before making that determination.

“You know, I want to play tomorrow,” Whiteside said. “I’m going to come out with the intent to play. You know, I just want to get a little bit of rest today because it swelled up on me.”

Spoelstra said he could tell that Whiteside wasn’t feeling quite right even before he stepped on the court against the T’Wolves.

“I can tell just from the travel and how he was in shootaround and during the game yesterday that he was a little bit sore,” Spoelstra said. “So I anticipated he wouldn’t be able to practice today. But that’s not highly unusual. He hasn’t been able to practice a couple of times the last 10 days, two weeks. We’ll just see how he feels tomorrow.”

Whiteside, who is averaging 15.5 points and 12.9 rebounds per game this season, said on Saturday that he felt “more a discomfort” than pain. Whiteside said he has been dealing with soreness at times since the injury occurred on Oct. 18, when he bumped knees with Magic forward Nikola Vucevic during the Heat’s season-opener in Orlando.

The injury forced Whiteside to miss the next five games.

Whiteside said he felt some pain when he played Friday night in Minnesota.

“I felt it a little bit at the beginning,” Whiteside said. “It’s still been sore. 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.”

If Whiteside sits against the Bulls, the Heat could start rookie Bam Adebayo in his place.

Adebayo has played in 10 games this season and made three starts earlier this season, including a 13-point, 13-rebound performance in a start against the T’Wolves at home on Oct. 30.

Adebayo is averaging 3.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per game, but has not appeared in six of the past eight games.

ROSTER MOVE

Guard Derrick Walton, Jr. rejoined the Heat on Saturday after playing a game for the Heat’s G League team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Friday. Spoelstra said the Heat plans to have Walton with the team Sunday in Chicago, then have him play for Sioux Falls on Monday for their game in Erie, Pennsylvania. After that, the team will bring him back for the Heat’s game against the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Tuesday.

Before this stint, Walton, Jr. had used up 12 of the 45 days allowed with the Heat per his two-way contract.

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