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Hassan Whiteside injures ankle, won’t travel for Heat’s next game

Thunder Heat Basketball

Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook (0) defends Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)


Hassan Whiteside has been one of the NBA’s feel-good stories.

After falling from the NBA amid concerns about his coachability, Whiteside returned to the league with the Heat this season, taking names and kicking ass.

For a six-game stretch, he averaged 13.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in 24.1 minutes per game. He then stumbled against his first team, the Kings, but he was right back at it against Thunder tonight. In just 11 minutes, Whiteside made all five of his shots.

Then late in the first half, Whiteside landed on Kendrick Perkins’ foot after contesting a shot. Whiteside went down, clutching his right ankle. He got up on his own, limped toward the bench and then went to the locker room. He didn’t return to Miami’s 94-86 loss.

Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post:

If Whiteside is out an extended period of time, that would be a big blow to the Heat, who are 18-23 and just 1.5 games inside playoff position.

Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen can hold their own on the inside, but Whiteside provided much-needed energy. The Heat can use more small-ball lineups, but that would hinder them defensively.

Whiteside allows them to maximize their athleticism and defense.