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Heat’s Derrick Jones Jr. out; Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder questionable vs. Celtics

Derrick Jones Jr., Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder, Heat, Celtics

The Miami Heat are currently banged up as they look to finish their season strong. Every win counts as the team clings to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. They need to get healthy as soon as they can.

On Tuesday, the team received some mixed news on the injury front. One significant piece is now listed as out for Wednesday’s home game against the Boston Celtics, while three other players have been upgraded to questionable. Via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

Jones Jr. was removed halfway through Monday night’s contest against the Celtics with an apparent knee injury. He did not return in the second half and is now set to miss Wednesday’s rematch with Boston. The small forward has been a productive semi-regular for Miami, averaging 7.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 0.6 assists while shooting 49.0%.

However, the possible returns of Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Rodney McGruder are excellent news for the Heat. The three have combined to miss twenty games with various injuries. But if healthy they could make a huge impact on Miami’s playoff appearances.

Richardson is likely the most important of the three. Miami’s starting shooting guard is averaging 16.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists, all career highs. Winslow, the team’s usual starting small forward, is averaging 12.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists.

Rounding out the trio is McGruder, and the shooting guard has been a valuable part-timer, averaging 7.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

The 38-39 Heat are only half a game ahead of the Orlando Magic for the last playoff spot in the East.

The final five games on the schedule – all but one coming against playoff teams – will decide Miami’s fate.