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Heat guard Dion Waiters decides to have ankle surgery

By TIM REYNOLDS

AP Basketball Writer

MIAMI (AP) Dion Waiters of the Miami Heat thought surgery could wait.

He changed his mind, and his season is over.

The Heat announced Friday night that Waiters has decided to have surgery on his long-problematic left ankle. No timetable for his return was announced, though Waiters has previously said he was told it might take eight to 10 months to recover from such a procedure.

"We are confident this surgery will resolve all of the issues with the ankle," the Heat said in a statement. "This process will not just repair the ankle, but also kick-start a whole new reboot for Dion. A full recovery is expected."

Waiters considered surgery last summer, deciding against it because he would not have been ready for the start of this season. He missed the final 13 games of last season, when Miami lost a tiebreaker for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The ankle still wasn't right when this season started, and when Waiters twisted it on Dec. 22 he thought he'd just miss a few games.

Not long after that, he insisted surgery would not interrupt his season.

"No," Waiters said. "Hell no."

But in that same interview, Waiters also conceded that surgery was likely inevitable, saying "until I take care of it and do what I was supposed to do with it, even if I have a little sprain it's going to be severe."

Waiters went to Los Angeles last week for a second opinion, then ultimately made the decision to try and get ready for next season. He finished 2017-18 averaging 14.3 points for Miami, which has seen a number of key players deal with injuries yet still is fourth in the East with exactly half of this season in the books.

Updated January 12, 2018

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