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On the eve of facing surgery that will end his 2017-18 season, Dion Waiters thoroughly enjoyed watching his hometown Philadelphia Eagles rout the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game on television Sunday night.
The Miami Heat guard shared the news he has opted to have surgery on his problematic left ankle Monday on his Instagram account.
Under a photograph of someone clad in Eagles gear, Waiters wrote, “I get surgery tomorrow,” in addition to some profanity, and added, “This game help calm my nerves. BigTime!!!!”
The 25-year-old guard has struggled with the ankle injury since last season, when it forced him to miss the final 13 regular-season games. He reinjured it in a game on Dec. 22.
More than a week ago, the Heat confirmed reports Waiters had chosen to have surgery. While the team’s statement did not state a projected recovery period, it was said before the season if he selected the surgery option he would be out eight to 10 months.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Waiters answered the bell in 30 of Miami’s first 32 games this season, only not playing two games while his daughter was born in November. He rolled his ankle badly on a drive to the hoop against Dallas on Dec. 22.
He averaged 14.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.8 steals in 30.6 minutes in the 30 games he played for Miami, all starts, this season.
Cleveland selected Waiters, a Syracuse University product, in the first round of the 2012 draft with the fourth overall selection.
For his career, he averages 13.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 28.7 minutes per game, shooting 41.2 percent from the floor, 34.1 percent from 3 and 70.1 percent from the free throw line. He was traded by Cleveland to Oklahoma City in the 2014-15 season and signed with Miami on July 26, 2016.
By having surgery, Waiters will miss out on a $1.1 million bonus he would have received had he played 70 or more games this season.
The Heat has sought a $5.5 million disabled player exception because of Waiters’ decision to have season-ending surgery. If the exception is granted, the team will have until March 12 to use it.
If Miami fails to find a trade partner to utilize the $5.5 million exception by the NBA’s Feb. 8 trade deadline, it can bank it and wait and see which players receive buyouts. Players must be released by March 1 to become playoff-eligible elsewhere.