Heat coach Erik Spoelstra thankful Dion Waiters’ ankle was taped or ‘we may be looking at a different scenario’

 

 

Whether he was wearing high-top or low-top sneakers, the most important thing was Dion Waiters’ ankle was taped, which probably saved him from a much worse injury. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS)

MIAMI – Dion Waiters was wearing low-top sneakers, which he has done his entire NBA career, when he severely rolled his left ankle Friday against Minnesota, But many agree the style of shoe would not have mattered.

Waiters’ ankle was taped, which is the most important thing when it comes to protecting the ankle.

“If he wasn’t we may be looking at a different scenario,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Heat guard Goran Dragic said he experimented one year with high tops in Phoenix and said he sprained his ankle eight times that season. He has had fewer issues with his ankle since switching to low tops.

“I don’t think that’s the thing if you wear high tops, mid tops, low tops, at the end of the day he was taped,” Dragic said. “Everybody is taped on this team. It’s just an unfortunate play. He landed on the guy’s foot. … And when you’re in the air it’s really tough to control your body if you land on somebody.”

Waiters has been on crutches since the injury and said Sunday his hope is to return before the April 12 regular-season finale.

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Spoelstra said the Heat are “more proactive than we ever have been before” when it comes to players’ preferred footwear with the shoe companies sending head athletic trainer Jay Sabol prototypes to make sure “it’s an appropriate” shoe.

“For me I think the most important thing is there is ankle protection,” Spoelstra said. “We can’t demand it of all the guys, but we’re pretty aggressive in our recommendations of ankle braces or tape and pads. The things that might be able to help.”

But Spoelstra agrees the best protection is tape. Besides. …

“The high tops aren’t built like Zo’s high tops,” he said of former Heat center Alonzo Mourning. “Zo’s high tops were to the middle of the calf. Most high tops aren’t even above the ankle. It sounds great in theory but it doesn’t really add more protection.”

Dragic said he just feels more comfortable in low tops.

“Each player is different,” he said. “I wear in my career high tops, mid tops, low tops but the most comfortable that I feel is in low tops. I feel that I can move better. I can explode and everything. It’s maybe just in my head.”

As for Waiters, Spoelstra said the swelling remains.

“That will be normal,” he said. “Even when he came back and played from the last one he had swelling for a couple of weeks.”

Waiters sprained the same ankle in early February and missed three games. This injury, though, is worse.

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