The Miami Heat were without Hassan Whiteside and Wayne Ellington when they traveled to Phoenix on Thursday for the start of a six-game road trip, per the SunSentinel's Ira Winderman.
The center remained in Miami for the birth of his first child, while sharp-shooting guard Ellington did not join the team due to personal reasons.
The pair will miss Friday's game against the Suns but are expected to rejoin the side at some point during the road trip which will keep the Heat away from Miami until December 16.
The team will head to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Saturday, after their showdown with the Suns, and they will play the Lakers on Monday, before games against the Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans.
Fortunately, point guard Goran Dragic, who has missed the last eight games due to a swollen right knee, has made significant progress and could possibly make a return on Friday.
The player had fluid drained from the knee over two weeks ago and practiced for the second consecutive day on Thursday.
“He’s doing a lot better. He’s making progress,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said after the team's Thursday evening practice in Phoenix. “We’re really excited about his last week of work.”
Heat travels for start of six-game trip without Hassan Whiteside, Wayne Ellington https://t.co/raxYPqeBy6 Goran Dragic did travel, Dion Waiters did not— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) December 6, 2018
What This Means
The Heat have struggled mightily this season and are 9-14 ahead of their clash with the Suns. They have been quite unfortunate with injuries and absences to start the campaign as well.
Ellington, James Johnson, and Dion Waiters (still out) were not available for the beginning of the term as a result of injury, while the likes of Whiteside, Dragic and Tyler Johnson have missed games too. Dwyane Wade also took some time to be with his wife after the couple had their first child last month.
Spoelstra hasn't had the luxury of having a full team at his disposal so far this season. But fans should be hoping that they can make a run at the playoffs if and when everyone is available and healthy.