The Heat left shooting guard Dion Waiters back in Miami for treatment, but it turns out he needs a little more than that.
The Heat announced Wednesday that an MRI revealed Waiters has a Pectineus tear and will miss at least two weeks. Waiters was initially thought to have a right groin strain but it’s a much more severe injury.
“It really was what our training staff was expecting. We initially thought it was a strain and a strain is a week, 10 days, two weeks,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s why we left him behind. We figured we’d get him an MRI and get him around-the-clock treatment so that’s what he’s doing.”
The Pectineus is a muscle in the front part of the upper and inner thigh. Waiters has been experiencing discomfort in the area, and the MRI showed the source of the problem.
Spoelstra said the injury is very similar to a strain, as is the treatment.
“He’s still able to do a lot of work on it, a lot of biking, a lot of conditioning,” Spoelstra said. “He’s still able to lift and he can do some light shooting with it but he has to get as much treatment and rest as he possibly can. We’ll reevaluate him after two weeks and hopefully all this intensive treatment will help.”
Waiters, who is third on the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game, had a season-high 28 in Saturday’s loss to Memphis but was inactive for Monday’s game against Boston. The Heat decided to keep him and Justise Winslow home for the three-game swing through the Western Conference so they could heal.
“He wants to be out there for the guys, he was coming off three games where he was starting to get into a groove and he wanted to continue to play with it but as you can see it was starting to get a little bit worse,” Spoelstra said.
The injury is another in a long list of Heat ailments. Winslow missed his ninth straight game with a sore left wrist.
Miami has had nine different players miss at least one game because of injury, and has lost a total of 65-man games through Wednesday’s matchup against the Denver Nuggets.
BACK TO CAMP
Spoelstra said Winslow stayed back in Miami to get some intense workouts with the hope he could return by next week.
“Justise, we’re using this almost as a mini training camp to gear up,” Spoelstra said. “We don’t have a lot of time to work out here other than our games. He can work out twice a day there and we can re-evaluate him at the end of the week. It’s really to take the next step with him and his help.
“If everything goes well, Justise will be able to practice on Monday.”
TOOTH AND TOOTH
Guard Tyler Johnson wore a mouth guard at Wednesday’s morning shootaround to protect his surgically-repaired mouth. Johnson had a an implant knocked out during last week’s game against Detroit, and he missed Monday’s loss to Boston after having oral surgery to put in a temporary post.
He agreed to wear the mouth guard for games and practices to be able to stay on the court.
“It’s the worst place I can think of to start wearing one,” said Johnson, referring to Denver’s altitude. “I need it. I can’t be missing games.”