Miami Heat: Derrick Jones Jr. out for six weeks, who can fill his minutes?

Coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat directs Derrick Jones Jr. #5 (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat directs Derrick Jones Jr. #5 (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The 24-24 Miami Heat are finally at a .500 record, unfortunately coming at a severe cost, losing Derrick Jones Jr. to an ugly knee injury that will keep him out for up to six weeks.

The Miami Heat ended up winning against the New York Knicks in Wayne Ellington’s surprise performance, however, they also lost one of their more surprising young talents in Derrick Jones Jr. to a substantial bone bruise that will keep the high-flying wing out for, at least, six weeks.

Jones Jr. was driving to the basket and buckled his knee, falling to the ground in agony, quieting Madison Square Garden to the point where you could not hear a needle drop.

Per the Associated Press at ESPN, Jones Jr. and his impact will be missed by the Heat until, at least, late-March:

"“But tests performed in Miami on Monday showed no structural damage, only the bone bruising. He will be re-evaluated in mid-March and the Heat are hopeful he plays again this season.Jones has appeared in 37 games for the Heat this season, averaging 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds on 51 percent shooting."

With a Jones Jr. absence happening at a very crucial time for the Heat, as they are trying to secure a playoff spot, they will miss a key part of their lineup moving forward.

Miami has complained about having a log-jam at the guard position, but a wing that could switch between the 3 and 4 is simply not something the Heat have with Jones Jr. out. However, Justise Winslow is obviously that utility knife, along with James Johnson, so when Goran Dragic hopefully comes back by the All-Star game, you could potentially see Winslow reclaim his position at the 3.

But in the meantime, what will a starting lineup look like for Miami over the next few weeks?

You can probably expect what we saw last game, which was essentially Head Coach Erik Spoelstra testing out Josh Richardson at the 3 and playing Ellington/Dion Waiters‘ high minutes at the 2, allowing Johnson and Kelly Olynyk to switch at the 4.

Not to mention, Rodney McGruder can easily play the 3, but he has been a shell of himself over the past month, so that could be the last resort for Spo.

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In conclusion, I am glad that Jones Jr. just has a bone bruise and it is not something that he has to worry about for the long-term future, as my fears of an ACL injury were deeply sinking in last night.