The Miami Heat recalled swingman Derrick Jones Jr. from Sioux Falls on Wednesday afternoon – a move made to add depth to the roster in light of three rotation players dealing with injuries or illness.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said forward Kelly Olynyk (left shoulder) is doubtful to play in Wednesday’s game against the Houston Rockets and guard Wayne Ellington (right shoulder) is being listed as questionable.
Ellington, who ranks fifth in the NBA in three-pointers made (159), said he tweaked the shoulder fighting through a screen in the second quarter of Monday’s loss to the Magic but played through the pain. He said he still expects to play against the Rockets.
“It’s one of those things that when your adrenaline is pumping you’re alright and then when you get home that night you’re like ‘Yo, OK.’ and you feel it a little bit,” Ellington said. “But like I said, I consider myself a warrior. I do what I have to do. I’ll be alright. I’ll come in this afternoon and see how it feels.”
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Forward Justise Winslow, who left Tuesday’s practice early because of stomach pains, did not go through shootaround Wednesday because he’s still dealing with it Spoelstra said.
Over the weekend, Hassan Whiteside left Friday’s game in the second half because of a stomach illness and missed Saturday’s game in Detroit for the same reason. Spoelstra said Winslow will be a game-time decision Wednesday.
Spoelstra said Jones Jr., who is on a two-way contract with the Heat and has seven NBA days remaining from the 45-day limit, flew to Sioux Falls on Tuesday and practiced with the Skyforce before the team called him and told him to get back on a plane and return to South Florida.
The Heat has been using creative ways to maximize the amount of days Jones Jr. can use on his two-way contract before the team has to make a roster move to keep him. At times he’s practiced on his own here in Miami while flying back and forth to play and practice with Sioux Falls.
In his last G-League game on Jan. 29, Jones Jr. scored a game-high 23 points while grabbing a team-high nine rebounds. Jones Jr. has appeared in nine games (seven starts) with the Heat and is averaging 4.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 19.4 minutes while shooting 42.4 percent from the field.
▪ Ellington finished 0 of 8 from the field in Monday’s loss to Orlando and the Heat is now 0-8 this season when Ellington fails to make a three-pointer.
The Heat ranked 14th in the league in three-point shooting percentage (36.6 percent) on Jan. 14 when its record was 25-17. Over the last 12 games (a 4-8 stretch), Miami ranks 29th in three-point shooting percentage (31.8 percent).
The Rockets average a league-leading 15.6 three-pointers made per game. Does Ellington, who is shooting 35.2 percent from beyond the arc over the Heat’s last 12 games, feel pressured to deliver more threes lately?
“I don’t feel any pressure. It’s my job,” he said. “I feel like I have to do my job and it’s important for me to my job in order for us to be successful. It’s part of it. I like that challenge. I like that responsiblity. But also I can instill confidence in my teammates and continue to encourage them. I don’t feel like I’m the only guy that has to make shots. Other guys are very capable.”