MRI on Hassan Whiteside’s knee shows sprained MCL, he’s likely out at least couple weeks

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Officially, Hassan Whiteside is listed as “day-to-day” with a sprained MCL in his right knee.

In practice, he likely can return in a couple of weeks. If the Heat are still playing then — not having Whiteside in the paint protecting the rim makes that task far more difficult.

The Miami Heat tweeted this out Sunday:

The Heat did not list a grade of the sprain. However, Stephen Curry is still battling back from a Grade 1 sprain — the mildest of the sprains — and will have missed a couple of weeks. If Whiteside has a Grade II or III sprain he would be out longer.

This diagnosis is good for Whiteside in that the free agent to be did not suffer a torn ligament requiring surgery. The young man is going to get paid max or near max dollars and a more severe injury would have made some teams hesitant.

However, this is not good for the Heat — Whiteside is essential for them in a series where they now trail the Raptors 2-1. Toronto’s offense is all about the penetration and shot creation of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, Miami could take away some of their shots at the rim with Whiteside protecting it. Miami doesn’t have another good rim protecting option and Erik Spoelstra may be forced to go super small now.

Toronto big man Jonas Valanciunas has a sprained ankle, but may be back sooner than Whiteside in this series.