In last night’s loss to the Magic, Heat center Hassan Whiteside left the bench early during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter and did not return. Per ESPN, head coach Erik Spoelstra was not given an explanation at the time, surmising that Whiteside was “probably extremely upset like we all are.”
However, teammate Dwyane Wade provided a more detailed explanation, telling reporters that Whiteside simply left the bench area to return to the locker room early because he had to go to the bathroom, which Whiteside confirmed today, per David Furones of the Sun-Sentinel.
“I didn’t know it was going to be as big of a deal as it was. I couldn’t hold it. My stomach was bothering me,” Whiteside said. “I had to go to the bathroom. I’m sorry if that makes me a bad guy.”
Despite Whiteside’s explanation, Spoelstra apparently still wasn’t happy, perhaps not believing that the center’s absence was completely caused by stomach issues. Per Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, Whiteside was disciplined internally.
“It’s totally unacceptable behavior by Hassan,” Spoelstra said. “We handled it, as a team, in the locker room today. That’s all any of you need to know.”
Whiteside, who averaged just 25.3 minutes per game last season, his lowest since his first season with the Heat in 2014/15, has so far logged a similar 26.9 minutes per game this season. However, both his rebound and block numbers are up, with his 13.7 RPG good enough for third in the NBA behind Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan.