Heat starters Deng, Whiteside out against Hornets
The Miami Heat had their ideal starting lineup in place with the return of Dwyane Wade from a strained hamstring Tuesday night versus the Oklahoma City Thunder at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
It lasted for one quarter.
Starters Luol Deng or Hassan Whiteside did not travel with the team to Charlotte to face the Hornets on Wednesday.
Whiteside played for 11 minutes until he rolled his right ankle after trying to block Thunder big man Kendrick Perkins and landing on his foot.
"He is big and he plays big," said Dwyane Wade after Tuesday’s 94-86 loss to the Thunder. "He protects the basket for us, he catches it and he finishes it. If he keeps doing that he will have a long successful career.
"Hopefully he gets back as soon as he can. It seems like every time we get someone back someone else goes out. It is unfortunate; we are a better team when he is in the ball game."
Whiteside — who missed one game on Dec. 21 against the Boston Celtics with a toe injury — was diagnosed with a grade 1 sprain but was seen walking freely after the game with his normal footwear.
"It’s tough because I really wanted to be out there and help the team," he said. "It’s frustrating at times but there’s really nothing I can do about an ankle sprain. It’s a part of the game."
The Heat were fortunate to have Chris Andersen back after he missed last Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings due to illness, but Luol Deng had missed Monday’s practice and was a game-time decision Tuesday because of illness before doctors gave him the go-ahead to start.
Though he didn’t make much of an impact on offense with eight points on 2-of-6 shooting, he helped limit Thunder star Kevin Durant to 19 points on 9-of-24 shooting, failing to connect on all eight 3-point attempts.
But with a back-to-back set on the road, Deng has this time around been ruled out.