The Miami Heat announced via Twitter that center Hassan Whiteside is going to be “day-to-day” after an MRI on his right knee showed a sprained MCL. Whiteside, who suffered the injury during the second quarter of Game 3 against the Raptors, has been huge for Miami during their playoff run. He scored six points in eight minutes before being taken to the locker room after a slip caused him to land awkwardly.
This is a crushing blow to Miami, to say the least. Whiteside is the playoff leader in defensive rebounds with 84 and blocks with 28. Furthermore, his efficiency on defense is just as remarkable. His defensive rating per 100 possessions is a 90 which is also best among players in the postseason, and his opponents are shooting just 47% when guarded by him, according to NBA.com. His size, strength and athleticism is a major deterrent for guards looking to penetrate off the bounce.
On offense, however, Whiteside has just as much of an impact. According to Basketball-Reference, with him on the floor, the Heat’s offensive rating is 108.9 per 100 possessions, compared to 102.6 when he’s off. Him being on the floor also allows them to get easy shots around the basket, and Whiteside brings their eFG% up to 54%, and it drops down to 46.6% when he’s off. He doesn’t have much of a post game, but ridiculous length and bounce make him a great target for alley-oops, and Whiteside has converted almost 82% of shots within the restricted area.
This is, no doubt, a crushing blow to the Heat and it doesn’t look good for them if Whiteside is out for extended time. As everyone knows, Stephen Curry has been out for a few weeks because of the same injury.