The Miami Heat, fighting for their playoff lives, will be without their leading scorer for at least the upcoming two-game road trip.
He will be re-evaluated on Monday.
Richardson sustained the injury during Wednesday night’s loss to the Boston Celtics at AmericanAirlines Arena after attempting to block a shot against the backboard on a Celtics fast break. He went into the locker room and didn’t return.
Richardson had missed the previous three games with a heel injury.
Wednesday night also marked the return of point guard Justise Winslow and shooting guard Rodney McGruder.
Heat guard Dwyane Wade expressed his concern following Wednesday’s game.
“At first you thought maybe he got hit the wrong way, but the way he left the game you knew he wasn’t [okay],” said Wade. “We are definitely concerned about him. This time of the year is a bad time for injuries, but hopefully he is fine.”
Richardson leads the Heat in scoring, averaging 16.6 points per game. He also leads the team in shot attempts, averaging 14.1, and is second in 3-point attempts (6.3) behind only Dion Waiters’ 6.5. Richardson is shooting .412 from the floor and .357 from 3-point range, adding 3.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.1 steals a game.
The Heat also will be without seldom-used forward Ryan Anderson, who did not make the trip for personal reasons. Derrick Jones Jr. (right knee bone bruise) is questionable for Friday’s game, while Waiters is listed as probable. Waiters had a precautionary MRI on his left knee Thursday, which came back negative.
The Heat hold the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference at 38-40, half a game behind the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic and a full game behind the sixth-place Detroit Pistons.
Whiteside bright side
Heat center Hassan Whiteside isn’t playing 30 minutes a game like he did a couple seasons ago. He’s not even starting.
But Whiteside, averaging 23.5 minutes per game this season and coming off the bench the last 16 games, still shows glimpses of the play that earned him that four-year, $98 million contract in the summer of 2016.
An effort like Wednesday night’s 18-point, 15-rebound performance on 9-of-11 shooting, leaves open the hope Whiteside can be an X-factor as the season winds down.
“I would hope to be,” said Whiteside, who has a $27 million player option for next year. “My teammates are finding me. They were making it easy. I was just trying to be more dominant on the glass.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was pleased with Whiteside’s presence in the middle of the zone defense against Boston.
“Our defense was good in the zone. He was a big part of that,” Spoelstra said. “He was making plays and keeping them to one look, so if they missed he would gobble up the rebound.”
On a couple of occasions, Whiteside went out to the perimeter to defend — something he has shown reluctance to do.
“I don’t know why people don’t think I can,” he said. “I got an All-Defensive trophy at my house I look at every morning, so I’m a good defender.”
Winslow played 23 minutes on Wednesday in his first game back since March 15 after being sidelined with a thigh bruise. He had four points on 2-of-8 shooting and three assists, appearing to lack his usual explosiveness.
“We are trying to get him back to competition, but we don’t have time to wait,” Spoelstra said. “That’s been the deal all year long. We needed him out there. His minutes were really important.”
Said Winslow: “I felt pretty good, a little hesitant at first. Once I got into the flow of things, I felt pretty good, didn’t really feel out of rhythm.”
Winslow started 0 for 5 before finally getting a shot to fall.
“I wasn’t really worried about the shooting. I made good shots. I missed shots that I am used to making,” he said. “But I have to be realistic. I missed three weeks so I am not hanging myself on those missed shots. Mistakes I made I will think about, but not the shots I missed.”