Heat confirm Dion Waiters’ will have ankle surgery, expect him to make full recovery. No timetable for return

The Miami Heat expect Dion Waiters to make a full recovery from his ankle surgery. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

MIAMI – The Heat confirmed late Friday that starting guard Dion Waiters will undergo surgery on his left ankle and miss the rest of the season.

“We are confident this surgery will resolve all of the issues with the ankle. This process will not just repair the ankle, but also kick-start a whole new reboot for Dion. A full recovery is expected,” the team said in a release.

The surgery has yet to be scheduled. Although no timetable is given for his return, Waiters was told if he had surgery after the initial injury in March, he would have missed eight to 10 months.

That recovery period would have Waiters back between the start of training camp and one month into the 2018-19 season.

Waiters, 26, sprained the ankle for the second time in nine months on Dec. 22 and has missed the past nine games. Reports have circulated most of the week that Waiters would opt for the surgery and the announcement comes as no surprise. Waiters reportedly sought several opinions on his ankle.

The surgery has yet to be scheduled, but the Heat expect the six-year veteran out of Syracuse to make a full recovery. Although no timetable is given for his return, Waiters was told if he had surgery after the initial injury in March, he would have missed eight to 10 months.

That recovery period would have Waiters back between the start of training camp and one month into the 2018-19 season.

The injury will cost Waiters a $1.1 million bonus for this season, that was tied into the four-year, $52 million deal he signed with the Heat in July. For the bonus to kick in, Waiters would have had to have played at least 70 of Miami’s 82 games. That would have raised his salary this season to $12.1 million. Now, he will make $11 million.

Waiters acknowledged the ankle hampered him this summer and he was never right early this season. And it showed. Waiters averaged 14.3 points and 3.8 assists while shooting just 38.9 percent, 30.6 on 3-pointers, in 30 games (he missed two games in November for the birth of his daughter). Coach Erik Spoelstra occasionally would limit Waiters’ practice time to help preserve the ankle.

The Heat (24-17) are 7-2 since Waiters was injured, including winning six straight wins following Wednesday’s 114-106 victory at Indiana, and have climbed to No. 4 in the Eastern Conference.

Tyler Johnson started at shooting guard alongside Goran Dragic the first seven games in which Waiters was out and played well, averaging 16.1 points during that stretch. With Johnson ailing from a left shoulder strain, Derrick Jones Jr. started the Heat’s victories in Toronto on Tuesday and Indiana on Wednesday. Johnson played against the Pacers but came off the bench and scored 15 points.

Johnson is expected to return to the starting lineup for the Heat’s next game, a 1 p.m. tip Sunday at home against Milwaukee.

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