MIAMI — The Miami Heat will be without center Hassan Whiteside and the Indiana Pacers will play their second straight game without big man Myles Turner when the teams meet Saturday night.
Whiteside has a bruised left knee and Turner is dealing with a concussion and sore neck. The Heat (0-1) will be the more rested team and will also have the benefit of home court when they host the Pacers (1-1).
It’s Miami home opener and the first of six straight games at AmericanAirlines Arena — Miami’s longest homestand of the season.
The Heat have brought back 11 players from last season’s team that finished with a 30-11 run but fell just short of the playoffs due to a nightmarish start.
“It feels like it’s been a two-year offseason,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told The Miami Herald. “That’s what happens when you miss the playoffs.”
The Heat want to avoid another bad start, and they’d like to put Tuesday’s loss to the Orlando Magic behind them as quickly as possible.
A win over Indiana would accomplish that, but the Pacers — like most teams at this point in the season — are optimistic about their own potential.
This is the first time since before the 2010 NBA Draft that four-time All-Star forward Paul George is not on the Indiana roster. George, who will be a free agent in 2018, let it be known that he would not re-sign and the Pacers shipped him to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Oladipo has moved right into the starting lineup as a shooting guard, scoring a team-high 22 points in his Indiana debut Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets. Sabonis came off the bench to score 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting.
Besides George, four other rotation players — Monta Ellis, Jeff Teague, C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey — left the Pacers.
Turner, just 21 and in his third year in the league, is supposed to be one of Indiana’s leaders. The 6-foot-11 power forward, a first-round pick out of Texas in 2015, averaged 14.5 points and 7.3 rebounds last season.
Veterans Thad Young at small forward and Darren Collison at point guard join Oladipo and 3-point shooter Bojan Bogdanovic in the starting lineup. Sabonis is filling in for Turner.
Cory Joseph and Lance Stephenson are the leaders of the Pacers’ bench, and coach Nate McMillan has Indiana playing an up-tempo offensive style.
For Miami, Whiteside will be tough to replace. He had a 26-point, 22-rebound performance against Orlando.
“I was wearing padding everywhere but on my knee,” Whiteside told The Miami Herald of his injury. “We just have to get the swelling out. It’s day to day — it could’ve been worse.”
Kelly Olynyk, a former Boston Celtics power forward, will likely move from power forward to center. James Johnson could move from the bench to starting power forward.
Miami has won five straight regular-season home games against Indiana.