Dion Waiters explained Wednesday why he opted not to have surgery on his badly sprained left ankle last March.
"I’m not a big fan of surgery so I try to avoid surgery," Waiters said. "I didn’t want to be out 8 to 10 months. I asked for another solution, what’s another way we can go about it? We went that route."
Waiters, who missed the final 13 games of last season, was also on his way to becoming a free agent at the time he made his choice. It could have hurt him in negotiations.
He ended up signing a four-year, $52 million contract to remain with the Heat. On Monday during Heat Media Day, Waiters revealed he still felt some discomfort in the ankle.
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Waiters, who averaged 15.8 points per game in 46 games last year, said the injury was a really bad sprain and acknowledged there was some ligament damage as well.
But he is confident his ankle will fully heal with time and treatment.
"I knew it would take awhile," Waiters said. "I knew it was a bad one when I did it. I haven’t felt any pain like that since I broke it in high school. The swelling just started going down. It’s still a little bit swollen but it’s not how it was before."
If Waiters plays 70 or more games this season, he would receive a $1.1 million signing bonus.
"It’s already feeling better," Waiters said. "I’ll get four or five treatments every day. Some days you’re going to feel great, some days it might be just one of them days. You have to push through it and be smart about the whole situation."
‘NO CUTS’ CAMP
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he expects all 19 players in camp to start the season either on the active roster or with their developmental league affiliate in Sioux Falls.
"This is the first time that no one will officially get cut," Spoelstra said. "These guys are all part of our system and we wanted to develop them."
The Heat returned 11 players from last year’s roster, which has lessened the need for the coaching staff to teach the fundamentals of their system from scratch.
The Heat have only four players on the preseason roster without guaranteed contracts - guards Larry Drew II, Derrick Walton, Jr., who has a two-way contract, Matt Williams Jr. and forward Erik McCree.
"We handpicked these guys to develop and to be part of our program," Spoelstra said. "It’s a good feel to it. The guys know that we’re investing our time, our resources in them. I'm sure they would love to have an opportunity to make our squad. That’s understandable, but the biggest, more important fact is we’re here to develop them."
GOING EASY ON GORAN
Goran Dragic sat out the scrimmage portion of Wednesday’s workout as expected with the Heat planning to lighten his workload this preseason after he played in the recent Eurobasket championships.
It’s unclear just how much playing time Dragic will get during the preseason.
"If you ask me I would like to play those games," Dragic said. "Every athlete wants to play, I enjoy playing. It’s a coaching decision. What’s coach [Spoelstra]’s plan I’m going to respect that.
"The good thing is I know all the plays. I know the whole system. I’m not starting from zero."