Heat Check

Heat leaves ailing Winslow (wrist), Waiters (groin) at home as it opens three-game road trip

Justise Winslow, right, has been dealing with a sore left wrist and his absence will continue for at least another week.
Justise Winslow, right, has been dealing with a sore left wrist and his absence will continue for at least another week. dsantiago@miamiherald.com

The Miami Heat left for Denver to begin a three-game road trip on Tuesday morning and neither starting small forward Justise Winslow nor starting shooting guard Dion Waiters were along for the ride.

Winslow has missed the last eight games with a sore left wrist and Waiters, who missed his first game of the season in Monday’s loss to the Boston Celtics, is dealing with a nagging groin issue.

Both will not play against either the Nuggets on Wednesday, the Jazz on Thursday or the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday and stay home to receive treatment during the time off. Winslow and Waiters said after Monday's loss they were hopeful they could make the trip and play at some point during it.

“I'm in pretty good shape,” said Winslow, who has been wearing a wrap on his left wrist for more than a week now and says his recovery is heading in a positive direction.

“I just haven't been able to do much basketball stuff. We haven't really practiced. I do run some dummy defense and pass the ball to the guys when they're shooting, but nothing else really.”

Waiters, who scored a season-high 28 points in Saturday's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, said he was very disappointed the Heat training staff wouldn't allow him to play in Monday's game against the Celtics.

“I hate to miss games. You can see I don't do good missing games,” he said. “It pisses me off. But I know it's best for me. If I could I would have been out there. I think everybody knows that. It's tough.”

Waiters said he's dealt with groin issues in the past, but this one has become more troublesome.

“It normally goes away,” he said. “This one is kind of lingering. It's annoying.”

The Heat has had nine players combine to miss 62 games this season.

Chris Bosh, who isn't expected to play for the Heat again, is at the top of the list having missed 17 games because of his ongoing issue with blood clots and his failed physical back in September. Wayne Ellington, who finally returned to action Monday, missed the first 16 games of the season because of a badly bruised right thigh.

Then there’s Winslow; Josh McRoberts, who missed the first seven games of the season recovering from a foot injury; point guard Goran Dragic, who missed a total of five games with ankle and elbow issues; Josh Richardson, who missed the first four games of the season recovering from a sprained MCL; Willie Reed missed four games because of a hyper-extended knee and was finally cleared to return Monday; and then Waiters and Tyler Johnson, who missed their first games of the season Monday.

Johnson, who had oral surgery on his teeth and gums on Monday, did make the trip with the Heat.

Center Hassan Whiteside, who had an MRI on his sore left knee Monday and started off slow in the first half against the Celtics before finishing with 25 points and 17 rebounds, said after the game he's been dealing with swelling in his knee and called it “very painful.”

He said the MRI helped ease his mind. He's also thankful he wasn't hurt Monday when Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas landed on his ailing knee.

“I watched the replay of when Isaiah came down and my knee hyper-extended,” he said. “I'm just thankful I'm double-jointed. That could have been a very dangerous play.”

Dragic, meanwhile, said he is pushing through his ongoing elbow soreness. His ailing ankles have also been an ongoing issues.

“It's not 100 percent,” Dragic said of his elbow. “But everybody's hurt, if you ask every player in the league, something is hurting. So it's nothing.”

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