Dion Waiters is trying to tough it out, but it’s clear his right elbow is bothering him and didn’t get any better after he banged it hard once again setting a screen Monday night in a win over the Grizzlies.
The Heat’s starting shooting guard, who initially hyperextended his right elbow in last Wednesday’s loss in San Antonio, shook off the big hit he took early in the first quarter Monday when he collided with Grizzlies center Marc Gasol.
But Waiters attempted only five shots — four from inside the paint and near the basket — in 24 minutes and 20 seconds worth of action. The one long-distance shot Waiters took — a three-pointer midway through the third quarter — completely airballed way wide of the basket.
“I don’t try to think about it,” Waiters said of the elbow pain. “Me, I’m a no excuse guy. I’m whatever.”
Still, Waiters admitted, the pain he played through Monday made him “very uncomfortable.”
“It’s a nerve,” Waiters explained.
For now, he’s trying not to use a protective sleeve because he doesn’t like the feel of a pad on his elbow. He wore one in the first half of Saturday’s win over the Brooklyn Nets in Mexico City and then took it off after. He finished 1-for-10 shooting from the field.
On Monday, Waiters took the court with black elastic therapeutic tape across front and back sides of his elbow. It did nothing to really alleviate the pain or protect him.
Waiters said he did not make a concerted effort to not shoot the ball from the perimeter because of the pain in his elbow. He said he was simply trying to be more aggressive in getting into the paint and to “make the right play.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra said Waiters did for the most part. Waiters finished with 10 points, two rebounds, four assists and two turnovers. He also had two steals and a block.
“His aggressiveness was very good,” Spoelstra said. “He got some switches and when the bigs were on him he just drove those right into the paint. That’s part of him learning. Before, that turns into a long three. But he made them pay for whatever coverage they were in. So I liked his minutes.”