Storyline: Justise Winslow Injury

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Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Dion Waiters and Justise Winslow looked good and showed no ill effects from their season-ending injuries last season in their first full practices back with the team Tuesday morning at Florida Atlantic University. “[Winslow has] been scrimmaging for a while. It was important for him to get those live reps. You would never be able to tell by his aggressiveness that he brought to this practice that he was coming off any kind of injury anywhere on his body. People felt his presence.”

Justise Winslow expects to be fully recovered and ready to go for the Sept. 26 start of Heat training camp. He’s already started to participate in full-contact work now that his six-month rehabilitation schedule is complete. “My shoulder is feeling great. I’m 100 percent now,” said Winslow, who is promoting the September youth clinic he will host on behalf of his family’s foundation. “Doing different contact stuff, playing with guys in 3-on-3 [games]. Playing against the other coaches and the trainers and things like that. I feel good. I’m in pretty good shape. I’m feeling lighter and eating better, so I’m excited for this upcoming season.”

Spoelstra began Wednesday’s pregame media session saying, “I’ll start with the bad news, or the tough news, right now.” And it was, especially for a team hoping to groom the versatile forward for better days beyond this now almost assured lottery-bound season. “Justise was checked out by Dr. [Harlan] Selesnick on Monday,” Spoelstra said of the team physician, “found that he has a torn labrum, so we sent him out to get a second opinion. They confirmed it. So that’s going to require surgery. He’s going to have surgery [Thursday].
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June 17, 2018 | 10:15 pm EDT Update
If that “somewhere else” was OKC, how would the fanbase react considering they are still applying aloe vera to soothe the burns of two summers ago? Newly elected Oklahoma City mayor David Holt is a lifelong Oklahoman. He served as chief of staff under the previous mayor, Mick Cornett. The two played significant roles in bringing professional basketball to The Big Friendly. “I am fully aware how Thunder fans have felt since July 4, 2016, because I feel it, too,” Holt said. “And I think we’ll feel that way forever if the status quo is maintained. Yet all KD would have to say is ‘I choose you,’ and virtually all fans would forgive him.”
Gabe Ikard was an All-American lineman for the Oklahoma Sooners. Now retired from football, the longtime Thunder fan co-hosts Franchise Players for 107.7 The Franchise in Oklahoma City. Those dual titles grant him solid insight on the psyche of the fanbase. “Durant’s departure to the Golden State Warriors resulted in the biggest backlash to a player’s free-agency decision in the history of sports,” Ikard said. “I’m not quite sure he expected that extreme of a reaction. I’m not sure Oklahomans thought that they would react so severely to his decision either. “But,” he added, “no one thought it would be Golden State. I find it hard to believe people that say they would not welcome him back,” Ikard said. “It’s easy to call him a snake and cupcake now. But if he was dropping 40-plus in Thunder blue again, a lot of fans would find forgiveness quickly.”
June 17, 2018 | 8:05 pm EDT Update