January 11, 5:01pm: After having received a second opinion in Los Angeles, Waiters is expected to undergo season-ending surgery on his left ankle, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.
January 10, 4:10pm: Heat guard Dion Waiters has been nagged for much of the season by a left ankle injury, an issue that has kept him out of action since December 22. While the club has moved forward with a non-surgical rehab program so far, Waiters recently sought out a second opinion, and a season-ending surgical procedure is one of the options he’s considering, an associate tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). No decisions have been made yet, however.
Waiters’ camp and the Heat figure to work in tandem to figure out the best approach for the 26-year-old, who has received multiple medical opinions, per Jackson. Waiters had suggested last month that offseason surgery may also be an option if he can make it through the 2017/18 campaign without having to go under the knife.
The injury has likely contributed to Waiters’ dip in production so far this season. After posting a .424 FG% and .395 3PT% in 2016/17, the former fourth overall pick has seen those shooting rates decline to .398 and .306 this year.
Waiters, who inked a new contract with the Heat back in July, is under contract through the 2020/21 season at a rate of nearly $12MM annually, so the club will be motivated to find the best long-term solution, rather than trying to rush him back onto the court. Still, ESPN’s Zach Lowe indicated in his latest piece that Waiters’ injury situation has created some tension in Miami. The two sides hope to have some clarity on the issue this week or next week, per Lowe.
No matter how the Heat and Waiters choose to address his ankle injury, the veteran guard appears extremely unlikely to cash in on his $1.1MM games-played bonus for this season. Waiters would have to appear in 70 games to receive that money, and he has already missed 10 of 40 contests.