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Spoelstra unhappy with Whiteside shedding knee brace

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Spoelstra called wearing the brace “non-negotiable.”

Miami Heat v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

In the first quarter of the Miami Heat’s game against the Orlando Magic Dec. 30, 2017, Bam Adebayo approached the scorer’s table. At the next stoppage in play, Whiteside walked towards the bench. But Adebayo was subbing in for Kelly Olynyk, not Whiteside. That left Erik Spoelstra unhappy.

That wasn’t the only time Spoelstra was unhappy with the center.

Whiteside took off a brace on his left knee in the first quarter and played the rest of the game without it. He even played 29 minutes against the Magic last Friday, his highest minute total in three games since returning from a bone bruise. But according to Spoelstra, the brace will stay on. The following is from Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post:

“That’s not going to happen any more or he’s not going to be out there,” coach Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday following practice. “He had discomfort. We expect that. Just like a guy wearing an ankle brace or taped ankle. The first few times you do it, it’s uncomfortable, it’s new. But we want to protect him.

“He’s going to wear it. That’s non-negotiable.”

For his part, Whiteside says that the knee brace is “extremely uncomfortable” and believes it slows him down. The Magic scored 24 fast-break points against Miami in the first half, jumping out to a 16-point lead before the Heat rallied.

The Heat training staff said that Whiteside would wear the brace for one to two months. Although Whiteside personally doesn’t like wearing it, he may have to get used to wearing it if he wants to avoid a reputation-damaging feud with a well-respected coach.