Heat guard Dion Waiters said he will consider having surgery this offseason on his ailing left ankle, admitting Tuesday the ankle will not fully heal until he goes under the knife.
Waiters, who missed the final 13 games of last season with a bad sprain of the same ankle, missed his second straight game after tweaking the ankle in Friday’s win over the Dallas Mavericks and said he’s not sure when he will be back, but does not expect to be out as long as he was at the end of last season.
Waiters said strongly he would not have surgery on the ankle until after the season.
“Until I take care of it and do what I’m supposed to do with it, even if I have the littlest sprain, it’s going to be like severe,” Waiters said. “That’s why it just sucks because when I watched [the replay of the injury Friday], I didn’t even do nothing. When I twisted, I just twisted it.”
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Waiters, who decided not to have surgery on the ankle this summer in part because he was a free agent, said at this point he has to consider surgery after the season a real possibility.
“At this point, you got to see what’s best. But I won’t write it off, hell no,” he said. “Especially if I’m going to keep going through the same thing, even with like little tweaks and things like that. When the season is over, after the playoffs and things like that, I’ll sit down with my family, my agent and we’re going to take care of it.”
Waiters said on Friday he tried to “run off” the pain and “loosen up” his ankle. But when he returned to the locker room to get re-taped and took his sneaker off, “it was over.”
“It don’t ever blow up any more,” Waiters said. “It’s to the point it don’t even swell any more. It’s like pain, excruciating pain. Barely can walk so. It won’t even get like crazy no more.”
Waiters, who is averaging 14.3 points per game, has been far less efficient shooting than he was last season from three-point range. He is shooting 30 percent from three-point range after shooting 40 percent and averaging 15.8 points per game last season. Waiters admitted he’s been playing through ankle discomfort all season. But he doesn’t want to use it as an excuse for his on-court struggles.
“I don’t know honestly [how long I’ll be out] but I don’t have me being out that long,” Waiters said. “Especially if I’m able to test it and things like that and see how I feel and if it’s to where I feel good I’ll go out there.”
JAMES JOHNSON UPDATE
James Johnson, who returned to the Heat lineup on Saturday after a three-game absecne with right ankle bursitis only to aggravate the injury eight minutes in, called his latest setback on Tuesday “really disappointing.”
“I really thought I could go, despite the pain or despite J-Bo [Jay Sabol] being a great trainer, not wanting me to go,” Johnson said. “But that’s the kind of guy I am. We were down some men and I wanted to do my best.
“My foot wasn’t functional [on Saturday after it was aggravated]. But I think it was way better just not coming back out [after] halftime than it was when I [first] had to leave the court, for sure. So I feel improvement. I see improvement on it.”
Johnson, who has been taking shots off to the side at practice every now and then, said the ankle pain comes and goes. The Heat has him doing some conditioning work until the pain and discomfort subsides.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday after shootaround the team’s training staff was going to make sure Johnson is as close to 100 percent before he is cleared to return.
“Hopefully [the pain] calms down soon,” Johnson said. “Like I said, it feels good sometimes, then all of a sudden it just flares up out of nowhere and I just feel it in my shoe, it gets a little balloonish and then I stop doing something and it goes back down. So hopefully, like I said the treatment is going to work.”