Miami Heat

Could Heat’s Waiters be headed for surgery sooner than expected? Spoelstra weighs in

Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters reacts after the Heat scored in the fourth quarter as they host the Charlotte Hornets at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017.
Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters reacts after the Heat scored in the fourth quarter as they host the Charlotte Hornets at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. mocner@miamiherald.com

Although coach Erik Spoelstra said Friday the Heat still has not had any discussions about having Dion Waiters shelved for the remainder of the season to surgically repair his troublesome left ankle, Miami’s starting shooting guard is pursuing a second opinion on it.

Waiters, who signed a four-year, $52 million deal to stay with the Heat this summer, said two weeks ago he was strongly considering surgery on the ankle after the season. But after Friday’s game against the Knicks he’ll have missed six consecutive games since spraining the ankle early in a win over the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 22. There’s also been no updated timetable for his return.

Waiters initially sprained the ankle back on March 17 and missed the Heat’s final 13 regular season games. He entered free agency this summer knowing he would likely have to have surgery, which would keep him out eight to 10 months, but opted against it so he could be ready for the start of this season.

“We’re not at that point right now,” Spoelstra responded when asked if there’s been discussions internally about Waiters having the surgery sooner than later to be ready for the start of the 2018-19 season. “He’s not playing tonight and he’s doing all of his rehab and rest. If anything happens and it takes the next step between the training staff and Dion, we’ll go there. But we’re not right now.”

Waiters, 26, has struggled this season with his efficiency, shooting 39.8 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from three-point range while averaging 14.3 points per game. Last season, he averaged 15.8 points and shot 42.4 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from beyond the arc.

The Heat (20-17) has started Tyler Johnson at shooting guard with Waiters out and he’s played well for the most part, averaging 16.2 points and shooting 43.7 percent from the field over the last five games.

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