More progress for Dion Waiters: Heat guard out of his walking boot

Heat guard Dion Waiters, who has missed eight games since suffering a sprained anke, is out of his walking boot. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Dion Waiters will miss his eighth straight game tonight since spraining his left ankle, but signs are that a return could be coming soon.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is offering morsels of good news almost daily now, the latest being the shooting guard is out of his walking boot.

“Nothing new, but he is making progress,” Spoelstra said today following Miami’s shoot-around. “He’s starting to do some conditioning. He’s out of his boot, so that’s good.”

The Heat (37-39) face Denver (35-40) at 6 p.m., a game that features two teams battling for playoff positioning. Miami is in a three-way tie with Chicago and Indiana for the final two spots in the East. Chicago holds the seventh spot and Miami is eighth after tie-breakers. Denver is No. 9 in the West, 2.5 games behind No. 8 Portland.

Miami is 3-4 since Waiters was injured. Josh Richardson has started in his spot but has struggled offensively, averaging 10.4 points and shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent on threes in the seven games.

Spoelstra said on Friday that the swelling in Waiters’ ankle had “come down considerably.” The next step is Waiters getting on the court then returning.

Miami has just six regular season games remaining. Waiters would have another week if he wanted to return for the final two games to prepare for the playoffs if the Heat are in the postseason.

The Heat conclude the regular season with home games against Cleveland on April 10 and Washington on April 12.

The Heat conducted a  shoot-around despite the early start, an unusual practice that occurred for the first time in memory last week in Boston.

But Spoelstra said today that the players were all for coming in for one reason in particular.

“We’re 0 for 6,” Spoelstra said of Miami’s record on Sundays, which actually is 0-7. “Figured we might as well change something up.”

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