Top Stories

Justise Winslow returns to Miami Heat at seemingly perfect time

From NBA media reports

* Recap: Heat 97, Bucks 79

Injury issues continue to cloud the view on Miami Heat swingman Justise Winslow. A lottery pick considered one of the keys to the Heat’s future during his impressive rookie season, Winslow has seen his momentum interrupted since then; he played just 18 games last season and has missed Miami’s past 14 games with a knee injury.

After making it through a full practice Saturday, Winslow returned to the rotation against Milwaukee on Sunday. And the timing couldn’t be better with the news of Dion Waiters needing season-ending ankle surgery. The only issue for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, according to Andre C. Fernandez of the Miami Herald, is what role Winslow will play? When he went down the Heat was in flux, still trying to figure itself out. But they’re rolling now, winners of six straight games and in the top four of the Eastern Conference standings:

“We’ll have to find out where those opportunities and minutes will be,” Spoelstra said. “He’ll get into the game and we’ll figure out how many minutes will be from there. It will be more about continuity.”

Winslow averaged 10.9 points and shot only 35.6 percent including an even 20 percent on threes last season while dealing with shoulder and wrist injuries. He started 15 games earlier this season playing some at the power forward position.

But with Bam Adebayo continuing to improve quickly in his rookie season and playing well alongside other frontcourt players like Hassan Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson, those minutes could be limited.

Winslow’s versatility, however, may allow him to slide back into the rotation and find minutes as a wing.

“We’ve done a great job as a unit, when someone goes down filling in and making the most of the opportunities,” Winslow said. “For me it’s not going to be crazy minutes at first, just going out there playing with a lot of energy, trying to make plays.

“The coaching staff will do what’s best for the team whether its minutes as the four sparingly or on the wing or playing some point forward,” Winslow said. “The coaching staff is going to figure that out for me. I’m versatile enough and smart enough that wherever they fill me in to be effective and efficient.”

Latest