The Miami Heat on Friday night confirmed reports injured starting shooting guard Dion Waiters will undergo surgery to repair his troublesome left ankle.
“Dion Waiters will undergo left ankle surgery at a time to be determined in the near future,” the statement said. “We are confident this surgery will resolve all of the issues with the ankle. This process will not just repair the ankle, but also kick-start a whole new reboot for Dion. A full recovery is expected.”
The Heat’s statement did not include a timeline for Waiters’ return, but he said prior to the season that if he had surgery he would be sidelined eight to 10 months.
Waiters played in 30 of the Heat’s first 32 games – missing two games for the birth of his daughter back in November – and then rolled the ankle badly driving to the basket early in a win over Dallas on Dec. 22. He hasn’t played since and has missed eight consecutive games. Waiters, 26, was in line to receive a $1.1 million bonus if he played in at least 70 games this season.
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Assuming Waiters is lost for the season, the Heat can apply for a $5.5 million disabled player’s exception that, if granted, must be utilized by March 12 and can be used only to acquire a player on an expiring contract. The Heat must apply for that exception by Monday and would need to open a roster spot to use it.
If the Heat cannot find a trade option with that $5.5 million before the Feb. 8 trade deadline, the alternative would be saving it and seeing what players receive buyouts. Players who have been in the NBA this season must be released by March 1 to be playoff-eligible elsewhere.