Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder on Thursday in Miami and likely miss the rest of the 2016-2017 season, the Heat announced on Wednesday.
Winslow suffered the injury in the Heat’s 117-114 loss to the Boston Celtics last Friday after he and Al Horford were tangled up going for the ball late in the game. Winslow initally thought that the injury was just a stinger, and he told Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra that he would be able to return for the Heat right away on the team’s flight.
That of course never happened, as Winslow missed the Heat’s losses versus the Detroit Pistons and the Phoenix Suns before the official announcement by Miami today.
Winslow and teammates Hassan Whiteside and Josh McRoberts didn’t travel with the Heat on their six-game road trip on Monday that will end against the Milwaukee Bucks, but it was originally described as rehab for Winslow before examination was done on the injury.
“That’s sometimes the exuberance of youth and of a 20-year-old,” Spoelstra said of Winslow’s initial hope to be able to play through the injury and still make an impact. “I really feel for him, because I know how much time he put in this summer. He really put in as much time as anybody to develop his game and be ready.”
The 20-year-old Winslow will finish the season with a total of 63 missed games after missing 16 games earlier in the year with a wrist injury, and put up averages of 10.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game on 35% shooting from the field, 20% from three, and 61% from the free throw line.
This was Winslow’s second NBA season, after he averaged 6.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game on 42% shooting from the floor, 26% from three-point territory, and 68 from the charity stripe. The sophomore wing saw his offensive responsibilities increase this year with the departures of Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, and Joe Johnson.
Winslow, who earned a base salary of $2.5 million this season, has two more years left on his rookie scale contract with the Heat. With the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, Albert Nahmad of Heathoops.com notes that Winslow will receive a raise each season.
Nahmad says it will be a raise of 15% in 2017-2018, meaning that instead of earning a base salary of $2.7 million in 2017-2018, Winslow will make $3.1 million. Miami will exercise their team option on Winslow next October for the 2018-2019 season, where Winslow will make $4.5 million instead of $3.4 million, a 30% pay raise.
The summer of 2020 will be the first time Winslow will hit NBA free agency for the first time in his career if he and Miami are unable to workout a long-term agreement before hand. As it stands right now, Winslow would receive the qualifying offer to become restricted free agent in 2020 from the Heat, making him a restricted free agent.
With Winslow on the shelf, Luke Babbitt, Rodney McGruder, and Derrick Williams are likely candidates to receive more playing time in Spoelstra’s rotation. Guards Dion Waiters and Josh Richardson will also see their shot attempts increase.
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