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Dion Waiters returns to practice for Heat

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Dion Waiters practiced with the team for the first time since he has had his ankle surgery.

NBA: Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a long time since Dion Waiters played for the Miami Heat, let alone practice. In fact, Waiters has yet to play a game with Dwyane Wade on his team. But that’s all about to change, because Tuesday marked the return of Waiters to Miami Heat practice.

In a light session of 3 on 3 court work, Waiters joined his team and was able to practice in a limited role. It’s a significant step considering he also hasn’t been traveling with the team, rather staying back and working out with Heat assistants.

Waiters had ankle surgery in the middle of the last season, and his return has taken much longer than originally expected. It’s been over 10 months since his surgery, one that was supposed to keep him sidelined 8-10 months. We are past 10 months, and although he is back practicing, his return is still probably a little ways off.

Dwyane Wade has this to say about Waiters today...“I think [Tuesday] was the first day that we were on the same unit. He has so much talent. He’s one of the guys that playing against him, I’ve seen the talent that he has on both ends of the floor. Then, obviously, I watched him when he was here and he was healthy, and he played very well. You want him to get back healthy, understanding that he can definitely help us with his ability to score, to make plays and defend. It’s going to take him a while to get to where he wants to get to, but he’s getting closer each day. It’s good to see him out there.”

Spoelstra and the Heat declined any comment or update on when Waiters would return, but suggest it’s a day by day evaluation and they don’t know when he will return.

In the meantime, the Heat will continue to nurse their other injuries — as Goran Dragic is still struggling from knee issues that is keeping him out of games. When Waiters does return, the Heat will have some shuffling to do to work him in the mix. They have never had the full compliment of guards and wing players available to create a rotation. But if or when they do, it will be interesting to see how it all works.