Storyline: Dion Waiters Injury

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There is still no timetable for Dion Waiters’ return, but the Heat are encouraged by the progress he’s making in Miami. Waiters did not travel with the team on it’s current three-game road trip, as he’s still recovering from a sprained left ankle he suffered on March 17 against the Timberwolves. Coach Erik Spoelstra said Waiters will miss the Heat’s final two games of the trip — Tuesday against the Pistons and Wednesday against the Knicks — as he continues to rehab the injury in Miami.

The Heat’s starting shooting guard, who was injured late in the first half of last Friday’s win over Minnesota when he landed awkwardly on the foot of T’Wolves forward Gorgui Dieng, said he’s been wearing low top sneakers for years and believes the injury would have happened to him regardless of his footwear. “That’s all I’ve been wearing my whole career,” said Waiters, who wears the low-top Kobe A.D. model by Nike. “It’s hard to adjust. Even if you go back to college, I wore low tops. I like low tops. Even though I play the way I play and attack the rim and things like that, these type of things happen if you have high tops on. It happens.”

Dragic said he just feels more comfortable in low tops. “Each player is different,” he said. “I wear in my career high tops, mid tops, low tops but the most comfortable that I feel is in low tops. I feel that I can move better. I can explode and everything. It’s maybe just in my head.” As for Waiters, Spoelstra said the swelling remains. “That will be normal,” he said. “Even when he came back and played from the last one he had swelling for a couple of weeks.”

Waiters said he hasn’t been able to put any weight on the ankle whatsoever and the swelling is bad enough that he thinks he’s going to request an MRI once he’s finally able to have one. He said he’s been working around the clock with Heat trainers to get the swelling down. “If I don’t like what’s going on or it’s not improving I’m going to get [an MRI],” said Waiters, who has a $3 million player option for next season he’s almost sure not to exercise because he could command much more money in the open market.

The Heat said X-rays on Waiters’ ankle were negative and coach Erik Spoelstra said there’s no timeline yet for when the team’s third-leading scorer and starting shooting guard will return. When Waiters sprained the same ankle last month in a win at Minnesota he missed three games. “I was hanging out with him a little bit in the training room,” Spoelstra said. “It’s a sprained ankle, same left ankle that he sprained in Minnesota. So I don’t know what his problem is with Minnesota, but he sprained it similar to the way he did last time. There’s no timeline on it. There’s no way to really tell until we get to the next day.”

Waiters played through his groin injury for four games before the Heat decided to give him time to recover to avoid it getting even worse. He missed his first game of the season Monday against the Celtics. “I didn’t decide anything. That’s what the staff thought was best for me,” Waiters said after Monday’s game of taking time off. “I’ve been playing with it. I guess they didn’t want it to get any worse. “It’s very disappointing. I hate to miss games. You can see I don’t do good missing games. It pisses me off. But I know it’s best for me.”
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July 24, 2017 | 10:59 pm EDT Update