Dion Waiters wants Heat to 'keep working' through winning streak
Heat guard Dion Waiters, in the midst of one of the best stretches of his career, said he’s concerned about a sprained left ankle sustained in Monday’s win against Minnesota and unsure of his status for the immediate future.
The Heat is concerned about Waiters potentially missing time.
The Heat did not practice Tuesday, but Waiters said late Monday night that he was experiencing pain and swelling in the ankle after the game and he hopes the injury is merely a sprain. He wasn’t sure if he would get an MRI.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “It [stinks]. Just hope and pray I feel better.”
Waiters sustained the injury when he stepped on Minnesota forward Gorgui Dieng’s foot in the third quarter.
Waiters played through the injury, including six fourth-quarter minutes, because “I couldn’t leave my guys.”
But he said the injury affected his play on a night he scored 12 points (equaling his fewest in this 11-game winning streak) and shot 4 for 13 from the field.
Meanwhile, guard Josh Richardson is drawing closer to a return from a sprained left foot.
Richardson said he hopes to begin contact work this week and play in a game before the All-Star break, perhaps Monday against Orlando or next Wednesday at Houston. The Heat’s All-Star break begins after that game against the Rockets.
Richardson, who has missed 14 games, said the foot is no longer painful, but he said there are “some small [issues] with movement” that he’s still working through.
Though the Heat gave forward Okaro White a two-year contract on Monday, White said he would be interested in playing in the D-League All-Star game on the weekend of the NBA All-Star Game.
White spent most of the season with the Heat’s D-League team in South Dakota before joining Miami on Jan. 17. On Monday, he was named to the D-League All-Star team in Sioux Falls.
Also named to the team: Sioux Falls forward Keith Benson and point guard Briante Weber, who spent most of the season with Sioux Falls before signing a 10-day contract with the Golden State Warriors on Friday
“If I can, I think [I will play] in the game,” White said. “If all three of us can go, I will push for us to go.”
He played for Miami under terms of two 10-day contracts before signing a two-year deal on Monday that will pay him $1.3 million next season if he’s on the opening night roster.
The contract “is a big accomplishment in my career,” he said. “I don’t want to stop here.”
He said he has watched Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen on YouTube to pick up defensive tips.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Coach Erik Spoelstra blamed himself for turnovers by James Johnson and White late in Monday’s game. Spoelstra said the Timberwolves did something “clever” by trapping instead of fouling.
“I didn’t handle it right in the timeouts,” he said. “I’ve got to do my job.”
▪ Guard Rodney McGruder’s 15 points against Minnesota on Monday were a career high.
▪ The Heat had outscored teams in the second half of 11 consecutive games before being outscored 56-44 after halftime against Minnesota.
But besides Miami’s winning streak, this other streak also remains alive: Miami has hit at least nine three-pointers in a franchise-record 12 consecutive games.
HEAT AT BUCKS
When/where: 8 p.m Wednesday., BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee
TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 790 AM, WAQI 710 (Spanish)
Series: Heat leads 63-41
Scouting report: Miami has won two of the three games this season. The Heat won at home 96-73 on Nov. 17 and 109-97 on Jan. 21, which was the third game of this 11-game winning streak. Miami lost 116-108 on Jan. 13 in Milwaukee, which was the Heat's last loss before this winning streak. The Bucks will have back guard Khris Middleton, who has missed the first three-plus months of the season with a ruptured hamstring. He will come off the bench and play 20 to 25 minutes, Bucks coach Jason Kidd said.