Heat’s Dion Waiters sprains same ankle that forced him to miss final 13 games last season; X-rays negative

Dion Waiters of the Miami Heat drives against Al Horford of the Boston Celtics during the Miami’s victory Wednesday in Boston. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

MIAMI – This is exactly what the Heat did not need.

Guard Dion Waiters hobbled off the court after spraining his left ankle in the first quarter of Miami’s 113-101 victory over the Dallas Mavericks Friday, adding to a long list of injured Heat players.

Coach Erik Spoelstra appeared optimistic following the game saying an X-ray on Waiters’ ankle was negative. No timetable for his return was given.

“This is the world we live in,” Spoelstra said. “You don’t have time to get down or feel sorry for yourself. It is unfortunate. I have great empathy for our players who are going through some injuries right now because they want to be out there so bad.”

Waiters rolled his ankle on a play at the basket and on the next stoppage headed straight to the locker room with 3:26 to play in the quarter. He did not return. The injury is to the same ankle that forced Waiters to miss the final 13 games of last season and one that limited him early this season.

When asked for his reaction when he saw Waiters leave the court, Spoelstra said: “Lets’s go. Next guy.”

Waiters revealed during training camp  he could have had surgery on the ankle, but decided against it because he would have been forced to miss eight to 10 months. Lingering soreness has forced him to miss some practice time this season.

The loss could not come at a worse time for Miami. The Heat already were down six players Friday – including three starters – against the Mavericks: Goran Dragic (sore left elbow), Justise Winslow (strained left knee), Hassan Whiteside (left knee bruise), James Johnson (right ankle bursitis), Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery) and Okaro White (left foot surgery).

Winslow and Dragic appear the closest to returning while Johnson and Whiteside should come back during this stretch of home games. Friday’s game marked the start of seven at home in an eight game stretch.

Wayne Ellington started the second half in Waiters’ spot and sparked the Heat, equaling his career-high of 28 points on a career-best eight 3 pointers. Ellington shot 10-of-16 from the floor and 8-of-12 on threes.

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