MILWAUKEE – Heat guard Dion Waiters is playing the best basketball of his career, which is why he could not be more disappointed with his latest injury.
“I feel bad,” Waiters said today following the Heat’s shoot-around at the Bradley Center. “We were moving in the right direction, we still area. It’s been tough. I’ve never through this many injuries in one season. It sucks.”
Waiters will miss tonight’s game against the Bucks as the Heat (22-30) are chasing their 12th straight win. He sprained his left ankle in the third quarter of Miami’s 115-113 victory at Minnesota on Monday. He remained in the game after the injury and after a brief rest returned for the final 4 ½ minutes.
“I wasn’t leaving the court, no matter,” Waiters said. “Coach looked at me a couple of times I told him, ‘No, just let me tough it out, just let me do what I’ve got to do.’
“Even if I’m not scoring I still can impact the game. They still got to focus on me and even if I’m just cutting through and things like that they got to keep an eye on me and that will give other guys the opportunity to make a play.”
Waiters is not wearing a walking boot and hopes to return for Friday’s game in Brooklyn.
“I don’t plan on it being longer than what’s already going on,” he said. “Just got to keep treating it. It’s better already though so continue to keep treating it and keep treating it and who knows? It’s not a long term thing, though.”
Waiters said he hasn’t had an ankle sprain in so long that he, “forgot what it almost felt like.”
Wayne Ellington is expected to replace Waiters in the lineup. Ellington has started 10 games. He is averaging 11 points and is second on the team with 68 three pointers.
“He’s one of the rare catch and shoot players you see in this game and that gives variety to our offensive menu and that’s helped,” coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Waiters is averaging 22 points in his last nine games while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and on three pointers. He missed 20 games earlier this season because of a torn muscle in his groin area.
His 15.5 scoring average is third on the team.
“He has shown a consistent commitment to get better and that’s what we’ve asked of him,” Spoelstra said. “I’ve seen significant improvement in his game on both sides of the floor. We just want to continue to push forward and not settle for this level. Can we get to another level or two or three levels up from that? I think he has that potential and we have to continue to work.”