Whether Dwyane Wade returns isn’t the only uncertainty facing the Heat at shooting guard. There also remains the unanswered question about when Dion Waiters will be back from January ankle surgery.
Long before undergoing the surgery on Jan. 22, Waiters said recovery from such a procedure would last eight to 10 months. The eight-month mark would be Sept. 22. Ten months would be late November. The team has not disclosed a timetable.
Heat point guard Briante Weber said Thursday that Waiters is not participating in any contact work with teammates or playing pickup games.
“He’s doing his own workouts; he is on his own lane,” Weber said at Bam Adebayo’s South Beach event benefiting Adebayo’s charitable foundation.
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“The team we have, he doesn’t need to rush it,” Weber said. “We have guys capable of taking his share and holding it down until he gets back. We’re preaching to him to get healthy first and don’t rush it. The one thing you don’t want is to reinjure yourself. The game’s not going anywhere. We need you for the long run.”
Waiters, who has been commenting on his progress on Instagram, has been doing on-court work for a while and posted this week: “Stay tune. Can’t wait to get back.”
If Wade bypasses a return and if Waiters isn’t ready by the start of the season, Erik Spoelstra could go with a combination of Tyler Johnson, Wayne Ellington and Derrick Jones Jr. at shooting guard.
There are still a bunch of veteran free agent guards still available, including former Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford and former Heat guards Mario Chalmers and Joe Johnson.
Others still available: Jarrett Jack, Ty Lawson, Jameer Nelson, Ramon Sessions, Jason Terry, Arron Afflalo, Corey Brewer, Aaron Brooks, Markel Brown, Jordan Crawford and Isaiah Whitehead.
The Heat has 19 players under contract, one less than the maximum permitted for training camp. That last spot is being held for Wade, who said Thursday he hasn’t decided if he will play this season.
Miami has 13 players with guaranteed contracts.
THIS AND THAT
Weber suggested that anyone who believes that a bunch of All-Stars wiped the floor with Heat players in pickup games last week is sadly mistaken.
Weber said a group of Heat players were quite competitive against a group of players led by Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Those three All-Stars needed a place to play, and the Heat gave them and others permission to use the AmericanAirlines Arena court last week.
“Of course they showed all the superstars,” Weber said of a TNT video making the rounds on the Internet. “But we were definitely going at it. It wasn’t just a one-sided event. Those guys weren’t just winning the whole time to be honest. We all played each other to a tee. We know each other well. Pickup games like that are definitely competitive. We are trying to build something different from them.”
Weber said in one of the pickup games, it would be Ellington starring and “next game would be somebody different.”
Adebayo said “every game was close. We take it personal. We’re all out there to have fun. It makes us better but makes them better.”
▪ Weber said of the Heat’s young players, Adebayo has particularly impressed in informal workouts.
“Bam has been the bright spot for me,” Weber said. “He’s been showing me a lot he didn’t show last year,” – particularly offensively.
“His jump in the summer is definitely great,” Weber said. “For him to carry it over to the season will be something exciting for you guys to watch. He’s been playing point guard. That’s how great a player he is going to be. You will see. I am so ready for him to show everybody what he’s capable of.”
Where has the biggest growth this summer been?
“Shooting,” Adebayo said. “There has been improvement [with that]. My teammates want me to shoot everything.”
▪ Adebayo did good work Thursday at the culinary event at The Satai, with proceeds benefitting single parents.
“I know a lot of people have single parents and it’s hard,” he said. “I had a single parent so I know what they’re going through. It’s me giving to them.”
▪ Adebayo said the Heat’s recent additions have flashed in workouts.
“They all got different specialties and bring different things. Malik Newman is his shooting, Briante is his defense but also his IQ. Jarnell Stokes is a big body, strong as an ox. Marcus Lee. Everyone has a different specialty.”
▪ The Heat announced it will once again hold training camp at Florida Atlantic University’s Boca Raton campus from Sept. 25 through 29.