Miami Heat team officials believe that small forward Justise Winslow has made great progress in his recovery from a sprained left wrist suffered in November, but off-season wrist surgery is still an option.
The Heat ruled out Winslow indefinitely last month after Winslow aggravated the injury by continuing to play through it. He missed his 16th consecutive game on Monday night against the Washington Wizards, and seems unlikely to play when the Heat play host to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
Heat doctors hope that Winslow’s wrist will heal naturally without surgery through their rehab program, per Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was asked about Winslow possibly requiring surgery after the end of the year:
I think right now all of our hopes are that he won’t need it,” Spoelstra said. “That’s why we went through extensive treatment and rest. And right now it looks like we won’t need to go that route.”
“It’s actually gotten significantly better. It was a sprain. He continued to play with it, continued to reaggravate it and then we shut him down we started the process of healing it and then rehabbing it and then restrengthening it. He’s getting better. He’s doing more court work each day. I would say probably now is when you’re starting to say he’s probably getting pretty close to full contact work on the court.”
Winslow went through the Heat’s shootaround for the first time since the injury on Monday, as Dion Waiters and Chris Bosh were the only Miami Heat players not able to participate. Winslow is wearing a brace on his wrist when he is not playing basketball, and Spoelstra says he will likely have to for the remainder of the year.
Rodney McGruder, Josh Richardson, Wayne Ellington, and James Johnson have seen their roles increased in Spoelstra’s rotation in Winslow’s absence, and one possible lineup going forward for the Heat after Winslow returns would be Goran Dragic, Waiters, Richardson, Winslow, and Hassan Whiteside.
The 20-year-old Winslow, who made the NBA’s all-rookie second-team last season, is averaging 11.6 points, 4.0 assists, and 4.7 points per game this season, while shooting 33% from the field, 22% from three, and 73% from the free throw line.
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