Dion Waiters progress report: Erik Spoelstra expects a much healthier, better player than we saw this season

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

MIAMI –Dion Waiters played just 30 games this past season after signing a four-year, $52 million contract.

The Heat’s starting two guard never fully recovered from an ankle injury in the final weeks of the 2016-17 season and underwent surgery in late January after reinjuring the ankle a month earlier.

While Waiters continues his rehab, coach Erik Spoelstra believes next season the Heat will see a much better player than we saw earlier this season.

“I’m not sure when, but he’s going to be more than 100 percent,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t think he’s felt right, physically, since when he first got here. He got in great shape, but once he injured his ankle, then he was always dealing with that.”

Waiters, 26, dealt with a groin injury early in his first season in Miami (2016-17) before getting healthy and having a solid two-month stretch prior to rolling his ankle in March. He ended the year averaging 15.8 points, 3.3 and 4.3 assists.

But after opting not to have surgery on the ankle with free agency approaching, he never was right this past season. He finished averaging 14.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

“I think this is going to be a really important summer for him,” Spoelstra said. “He’s going to be here and he’ll be working a ton behind the scenes just to get his legs right, then he’ll work on the next step of getting in world-class shape and then he’ll get into the next phase of really developing his basketball skills.

“The next five months will be pivotal for his process.”

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