Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters will miss the Heat’s upcoming game tonight versus the Milwaukee Bucks with left ankle sprain that was suffered in Miami’s win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.
This will be the 21st game Waiters misses the season due to injury, with the first 20 games coming due to a tear in his groin. Waiters is confident that his ankle injury won’t linger on like the previous one, and he could return as early as Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.
“I feel better already,” he said. “I’m walking better. I’m not limping. It’s definitely short term. I just treated it. It’s better already. It’s not a long term thing. I definitely was sore [Tuesday]. I hadn’t had an ankle sprain in so long I forgot what it almost felt like and it sucks.”
The Heat have been on quite an unexpected roll lately, as they are winners of their last 11 games after winning just 11 games in their first 41 games. Waiters’ exceptional play has been a huge reason for the streak, as his on-court chemistry with Goran Dragic has grown. The 25-year-old Waiters is averaging 20.6 points on 49% shooting from the field.
Wayne Ellington will replace Waiters in the starting lineup for tonight’s contest, playing alongside Dragic in the backcourt, while Rodney McGruder, Luke Babbitt, and Hassan Whiteside will accompany Dragic and Ellington in the frontcourt of the starting lineup.
Pushing Ellington up into the starting lineup will workout better for the Heat, as combo guard Tyler Johnson has blossomed alongside James Johnson off of the Heat’s bench. Josh Richardson will also miss another game for the Heat tonight, as he has still not be cleared for contact.
Meanwhile, the Bucks will be at full strength tonight with the return of one of the NBA’s best shooters in Khris Middleton. While Middleton will be on a 15-20 minutes restriction according to head coach Jason Kidd, his return gives Milwaukee no current injuries.
For the season, Waiters is averaging 15.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game on 41% shooting from the floor.
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