Luol Deng hands the Miami Heat an injury boost ahead of game six with the Raptors

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The Miami Heat have been boosted by the news that Luol Deng has a chance to play in game six of their Eastern Conference semi-finals series against the Toronto Raptors tonight after an MRI scan revealed he suffered a bruised left wrist in the previous game. 

The Brit left the third quarter of the Raptors' 99-91 game five victory at the Air Canada Centre with the injury and said on Wednesday night that he was hopeful of playing in Miami "as long as it's nothing serious". 

The Heat, however, have listed the 31-year-old as questionable for the vital elimination game at the American Airlines Arena and are likely to make a late decision on the forward's participation.

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Deng's production in terms of numbers has slipped in this series - he's averaging just 7.8 points on 35.9 percent shooting - but he is still an important player to Erik Spoelstra's team and the way they play, particularly on the defensive end.

The forward has been the primary defender on Toronto's DeMar DeRozan who, after exploding for a 34-point outing in Canada the other night, will need to be kept under wraps if the Heat is to stand a chance of forcing a game seven. 

Given that it's the playoffs and the South Beach outfit's season is on the line, it would be a surprise if Deng didn't suit up. 

Despite the good news about Deng, though, Miami has confirmed that center Hassan Whiteside will not be fit to play any part in the encounter. 

The big man suffered a right MCL sprain in game four and his absence was felt by the Heat as they didn't have much by way of rim protection and the Raptors benefited from it. 


Health issues have dogged this series and the Raptors are dealing with injuries of their own too. Center Jonas Valanciunas has already been ruled out with an ankle sprain and the franchise is now sweating on the fitness of DeMarre Carroll too. 

Coincidentally, like Deng, Carroll also suffered a wrist injury in the third quarter but X-rays came back negative and he is also listed as questionable.

The two teams have gone back and forth for five games in what has been a hard-fought series. Regardless of who comes out on top to make it to the conference finals, it seems the big winners will be the Cleveland Cavaliers who will be facing a banged-up team on the back of a week's rest. 

LeBron James is keen to meet his former team and best friend Dwyane Wade and the feeling is definitely mutual. 

The Raptors, however, have spent the entire campaign proving people wrong and are looking gatecrash the reunion and make it to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history.

Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
Luol Deng
Miami Heat
Dwyane Wade
Hassan Whiteside

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