Dion Waiters went through an on-court workout with a few of his Miami Heat teammates Tuesday after practice with coaches in attendance including Erik Spoelstra, but remains listed as questionable to play in Wednesday’s season finale against Washington with a sprained left ankle.
The workout included two-on-two work with backup center Willie Reed and some one-on-one work with captain Udonis Haslem. Waiters has missed the Heat’s last 12 games, but was upgraded from out to questionable on the team’s injury report on Sunday.
He was still visibly wincing at different points through Tuesday’s workout, which took place in front of the media as players conducted interviews.
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“He’s good,” Haslem responded when asked how Waiters looked to him. “His first step is amazing, it’s explosive. It’s probably one of the quicker first steps that I’ve witnessed. He’ll probably just continue to work and get some of that stiffness out as he gets more confident in that ankle.”
Waiters spoke Monday about still feeling significant discomfort in his ankle, which he badly sprained late in the first half of a win over Minnesota on March 17. He said he remains hopeful to return to action soon, but would likely deal with pain and discomfort until the season is over.
The Heat (40-41) need to beat the Wizards on Wednesday and an Indiana or Chicago loss to qualify for the playoffs or their season will end.
“Once you make your mind up to play you’re in the fire now,” said Haslem, who has played through painful injuries in the past. “I don't know what the situation may be for [Wednesday], but Dion’s cut from the same cloth as myself. Once he puts on that jersey and makes the decision or coach makes the decision that he’s going to be out there, he’s not going to focus on that injury or that pain. He’s going to focus on what it takes to get this team a W.”
Said Hassan Whiteside of Waiters: “It’s always great when you have one of your teammates coming back. He’s working hard and he’s getting shots up right now, as you can see. He’s working hard and trying to get back out there with us.”
Spoelstra said the Heat’s three injured players nearing a return – forwards Josh McRoberts and Luke Babbitt included – all did some court work and continued progressing.
But asked if their status for Wednesday was the same as Monday – available in case of emergency – Spoelstra answered: “Yeah.”