MIAMI — Ankle surgery is back on the table for Heat starting shooting guard Dion Waiters.
After spraining his troublesome left ankle on a drive to the basket during Friday’s win over the Mavericks, Waiters said he will consider surgery this offseason.
“At this point, you got to see what’s best,” Waiters said before Tuesday’s game against the Magic when asked if he will consider surgery to repair his left ankle at the end of the season. “But I won’t write it off, hell no. Especially if I’m going to keep going through the same thing, even with like little tweaks and things like that. When the season is over, after the playoffs and things like that, I’ll sit down with my family, my agent and we’re going to take care of it.”
Waiters revealed during training camp in September that he could have had surgery on the ankle last offseason, but he decided against it because he would have been forced to miss eight to 10 months. In this scenario of undergoing surgery shortly after suffering the injury in March, he would have entered free agency last summer as a player who wouldn’t have been available until somewhere between November and January.
The result of that decision has been lingering pain in Waiters’ left ankle all season.
“I just play through it, though. I got to,” Waiters said of fighting through ankle soreness to play in 30 of the Heat’s first 34 games this season. “I don’t make no excuses. I don’t want that to be the reason why. It just is what it is. It’s something that I don’t like to talk about because there’s nothing we can really do right now. Just try to take care of it and get it stronger and things like that. And it’s just that I don’t want to be in this predicament, where if it’s a little tweak you have to miss a decent amount just off a little tweak. That sucks.”
Waiters, 26, missed the final 13 games of the 2016-17 season after spraining the ankle on March 17. But he’s optimistic his latest ankle injury won’t keep him out as long after an X-ray and MRI came back negative.
“I just felt the pain,” Waiters said of turning his ankle on Friday. “You watch the replay and I didn’t even do nothing, I was just attacking the basket. So, I just felt that pain, man, that pain. It’s crazy. I hate it. It’s not fun at all. So, once I did it, I knew. I tried to run it off and hopefully loosen it up. I actually really came back in to get re-taped and once I took the sneaker off and the tape, it was over.”
Waiters signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the Heat in July. $1.1 million of his salary this season is tied to a bonus that kicks in if he plays in at least 70 of Miami’s 82 games, raising his 2017-18 salary from $11 million to $12.1 million.
Tuesday marks the fourth game Waiters has missed this season, as he missed two in November for the birth of his daughter. He’s averaging 14.3 points on 39.8 percent shooting and 3.8 assists in 30 games this season.
The good news is that ankle swelling isn’t as big of an issue for Waiters this time. That bad news is that’s probably not a good sign.
“It don’t even blow up any more,” he said. “It’s to the point that it doesn’t even swell any more. It’s like pain, excruciating pain. Barely can walk. So it won’t even get like crazy no more.”