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Friday 9 p.m. Heat update: Wade out, Whiteside responds to Karl comment; Exploring Justise Winslow's offensive growth and Heat mentoring of their rookies; Dolphins CN news

9 p.m. Heat update: As expected, Dwyane Wade will miss tonight's game against Sacramento with a sore back and sore neck sustained in Wednesday's loss at the Lakers. And he says it's "very unlikely" he will play Saturday in Portland.

"[From] the impact I made when I hit the floor, my lower back is real sore," he said. "And my neck from my head hitting the floor is real sore. It's hard to walk normal and it's hard to look left or right fast. Just got to let my body take course. When it's better, it's better.

"It got worse today. The second day was worse than the day after. Hopefully, tomorrow is a little better. There's nothing I can do except take it one step at a time, because it's not just my back. It's my back and my neck. [It's] equally bad [with both]. When I feel like I can move around, do things I need to do, I will jump back out there. I don't want to miss any time. But if I can't play, I can't play."

Erik Spoelstra said Wade is "walking like Frankenstein."

The Heat announced Gerald Green would start in Wade's place.

• Kings coach George Karl surprisingly said this tonight of Hassan Whiteside: "I think he is a great off the ball shot-blocker. I don't think on the ball he's that great" a shot-blocker.

Whiteside's response? "I don't really care what George Karl is thinking. My job is to make my coach and team happy. I let my game speak for itself.... Everyone is entitled to their opinion."

Whiteside noted the majority of his seven blocks against the Lakers were on-the-ball, against players he was defending.


Quick Dolphins update: Cornerback Greg Toler, 31, completed his visit to Dolphins headquarters today, but there were no serious contract talks in the immediate aftermath.

The sides are expected to talk further and he at least remains on Miami's radar. Whether that leads to an offer? We'll see.

Toler, 6-0, started 25 games combined for the Colts the past two seasons.

The Dolphins plan to address cornerback in the draft (there's strong consideration being given internally to taking one at No. 13) but they likely do need a veteran to supplement a draft pick or two, Byron Maxwell, Bobby McCain, Tony Lippett and two others who will be competing for jobs --- Jamar Taylor and Tyler Patmon.

Who's still unsigned, besides Toler? 

There's past-his prime Antonio Cromartie, Jerraud Powers (starter for Arizona last season; visited the Giants Thursday), Alan Ball, Tarell Brown, Jayron Hosley, Trumaine McBride, Cassius Vaughn, Corey White and Mike Jenkins.

There's also Leon Hall, who started four games for the Bengals last season. But considering new Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was Hall's d-backs coach the past two years, and considering Miami hasn't brought him in three weeks into free agency, it would be natural to be skeptical about whether there's great interest. But Hall, 31, is still an option should Miami choose to explore it.


SACRAMENTO --- Dwyane Wade is expected to miss Friday’s game against the Kings with back and neck soreness resulting from a hard fall to the floor during Wednesday’s game against the Lakers, Erik Spoelstra said after the team's morning practice at Sleep Train Arena.

“He’s very doubtful for tonight,” Spoelstra said. “He didn’t want us to say that he’s definitely not playing. But I don’t anticipate a miraculous recovery in the next few hours.

“It’s more sore. More sore yesterday, more sore today.”

Spoelstra said what happened to Wade is “similar to the fall” that former Heat guard Beno Udrih had in mid-January. The ensuing soreness in his neck forced Udrih to miss four games and more than a week of action. Udrih returned, then injured his foot, requiring season-ending surgery.

So Wade's status for Saturday's game in Portland is also seemingly in doubt. He was not with the team at shootaround this morning.

Spoelstra said "there's no way to know" how long Wade will be out.

Friday's game will mark the seventh Wade has missed this season. He missed 20 last season.

Spoelstra stopped short of saying Gerald Green would replace Wade in the lineup.

Green "is doing what he needs to do, and that's staying ready," Spoelstra said. "I made a point to him that we believe in him. We're going to need him. Ultimately, his minutes have been a positive for the team because he spaces the floor, brings energy. Defensively, he gives us that quickness. I know it's easy for Gerald and the average fan to get caught up in his shooting percentage, but he still brings positive things to the team."

Green is averaging 8.8 points and shooting just 38.3 percent from the field and 31.4 percent on threes.

The Kings will be without suspended center DeMarcus Cousins, their leading scorer and rebounder.


For Josh Richardson, the offensive emergence has been sudden and somewhat stunning, at least until the 0 for 8 hiccup Wednesday in Los Angeles. For Justise Winslow, the growth has been more gradual.

Both Heat rookies came to Miami with reputations as stout defenders, a perception that has been reinforced here.

But the offensive development has taken more work. Richardson’s has been rather remarkable: Entering Friday’s game at Sacramento, he was shooting 53.5 percent on threes since the All-Star break, despite missing all four against the Lakers.

Winslow’s offensive growth in the past month has been more modest, but the numbers indicate improvement.

After shooting 41.8 percent and averaging 5.7 points before the All-Star break, Winslow was at 45.8 percent and averaging 8.4 points since, entering Friday’s late game.

On jumpers, he has gone from shooting 28.4 percent before the break to 37.5 percent (30 for 80) since. He had 66 assists and 67 turnovers before the break, but 44 and 24 since.

He said he is “very” encouraged by the growth.

“I wish I could have been this productive earlier in the season, but I'm learning,” he said. “I was a good shooter in college, so it’s just about becoming more consistent. I'm just looking forward to keep getting better every day.”

Winslow, who turned 20 last weekend, said he believes he has made his most offensive progress in the mid-range game.

On shots from 16 to 24 feet, he’s shooting 42 percent since the break, up from 36.7 before.

But the three-pointer remains a work in progress. He doesn’t take a lot, but the percentage must improve. He’s shooting 26.2 on threes overall this season (28 for 107) and 5 for 18 since the break.

“The key for this season will be getting the corner three more consistent,” Winslow said. “Take them within the offense. They don't really encourage the other threes. A guy like D-Wade doesn't shoot a lot of threes and is still effective.”

There is no questioning either rookie’s work ethic.  Winslow and Richardson came in on an off-day last week to partake in an arduous shooting drill, and that’s not uncommon. In that drill, Winslow and Richardson each had to make two shots in a row at various spots on the floor. But generally, their drills differ.

At the urging of coaches, Richardson said he still undertakes one of three difficult shooting drills a few times a week: making 70 out of 100 threes; or three in a row from five spots on the floor in 90 seconds; or 40 threes in three minutes.

Winslow’s shooting drills, by contrast, are “more about the makes, not too much about the percentage. Josh is a better shooter so his stuff is tougher. I try to make 200, 250. It's not 250 all at once. I might do some finishes, some midrange, some postups. We don’t do the same stuff.”

As far as doing the work, “Justise has been great with that,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That's one of his greatest strengths, to stay committed. That's why it's inevitable he'll get better in all facets of his game.”

Now that Richardson has developed his three-point game, he said the next offensive frontier for him is "playmaking and vision, being able to put guys in good spots.”

Heat veterans have very much embraced these rookies.

“It's cool; when I got here, Eddie Jones watched me grow [and] now I can maybe be a part of these young guys’ growth,” Dwyane Wade said. “I haven't been a part of this since I've been here. We had Mario [Chalmers], but this is a little different team,… a little different level of maturity at a young age for these guys.”

Who has been in their ears this most? Winslow cites Chris Bosh and Wade.

“CB is kind of the voice and the leader of our team,” Winslow said. “He sits right next to me in the locker-room, texts me after each game. He got on Josh and me the other day because we weren't the first ones in the gym. The veteran guys beat us in the gym.”

And Wade “forces different situations at me, asks me what I would do,” Winslow said. “Sometimes I'm right; sometimes I'm wrong. We'll just be in the locker-room getting ready for practice or a game and there will be footage or a game on the TV and he'll ask me how I would defend it.”

For Richardson, he said his biggest mentors have been Luol Deng, Goran Dragic and Bosh.

“Luol talks about everything, off the court stuff, to little things on the court I need to do better,” Richardson said. “Goran helps me a lot with point guard stuff.

“And CB has helped me a lot lately. He’ll sit me down and help me out with film. He stays on [me] about everything, will point out things I can do better. I am definitely listening real closely to everything he says because I know it's the right things.”



The Heat was buoyed this morning by the presence of assistant coach Keith Smart, who is in remission after receiving treatment for a rare form of cancer that surfaced on the left side of his jaw.

Smart has been in San Francisco receiving six weeks of treatment since stepping away from the team on Jan. 26. Smart, who addressed the team at its morning shootaround, said he expects to rejoin the coaching staff by the playoffs.

Smart plans to return to South Florida in the next 10 days.

"I have to go through this skin regeneration where I'm going to look like a Thriller [Michael Jackson] video. Want to make sure everything is healthy as I start to get through my daily life as a coach," he said, adding he lost 25 pounds during treatment and "formed a kinship with the people I'm going through treatment with. I became the unofficial coach with our team every morning, trying to bring some encouragement to get through it. I had 140 people giving me encouragement every day."

Smart left the team in mid-December, returned Jan. 11 and then left again Jan. 26. He said he returned for two weeks because doctors "were waiting for the right type of treatment we were going to use" because it's a rare form of cancer.

He said the treatment lessened the odds of a recurrence from 50-50 to 1 in 500.

 Twitter: @flasportsbuzz