The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reported Wednesday that Dion Waiters, who has missed 11 games with an ankle injury, is mulling season-ending surgery.
Among options Dion Waiters has been considering, according to an associate: Surgery on his ankle that would end his season. Decision forthcoming. Has received multiple medical opinions.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) January 10, 2018
This tweet from Jackson comes on the heels of Zach Lowe’s profile on the Miami Heat, which asserts that Waiters’ decision to seek a second opinion has created some tension with the team. Lowe said that Miami currently has Waiters on a nonsurgical rehab program. The ESPN senior writer did say that the two sides hope to have some clarity this week or next.
As my colleague Matt Pineda pointed out, Waiters has a $1.1 million bonus in his contract this year if he plays in 70 games. The mercurial shooting guard would need to essentially play the rest of the season to get that bonus. He also responded with a resounding “hell no” when asked last month if he would miss games to have surgery, saying then that he may have surgery this upcoming off-season.
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to what Waiters found out from seeking the second opinion. Maybe Waiters knows that his ankle won’t fully heal until he has surgery. Does Waiters risk further injury if he tries to play through his troublesome ankle — the same one that caused him to miss the Heat’s final 13 games last season in their playoff chase? Even if he doesn’t get his bonus, he still signed a four-year, $52 million contract last year.
From a basketball perspective, some Heat fans may want Waiters to sit out this year. The Heat are currently on a six-game winning streak without Waiters, with Josh Richardson efficiently taking on more of an offensive load and — as Lowe put it — having “shown flashes of the single most elusive star trait: the ability to create, and make, tough off-the-bounce shots.” Lowe even said that Richardson already is Miami’s best all-around player.
Will Waiters try to come back, and how will that affect Miami’s chemistry? What do you think Waiters should do? Let us know in the comments.