- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

MIAMI (AP) - Hassan Whiteside is apparently nearing a return to the Miami Heat lineup.

The Heat are listing their starting center as questionable for Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bulls. Whiteside hasn’t played in three weeks because of pain in his left hip, missing nine games.

He practiced Wednesday, and coach Erik Spoelstra felt that was a positive step forward.

“He’s put in quite a few days of good work,” Spoelstra said. “This was his first real court work and competitive live work. We’ll just have to see how he feels.”

The next step would be to see if Whiteside can go through the team’s gameday shootaround practice on Thursday morning.

“I feel fine,” Whiteside said after Wednesday’s session. “It was just different being on the court.”

Miami has gone 5-4 in Whiteside’s latest absence. This is the third extended stint he’s had this season while dealing with an injury, after missing five games in October and a 13-game stretch in November and December while dealing with bone bruises in his left knee.

Backup center Bam Adebayo is listed as out for Thursday, which will be his second straight game missed because of a sprained right ankle.

Miami is currently holding the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference.


More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

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