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Heat’s Dion Waiters could make debut vs. Raptors on Tuesday

Dion Waiters, Erik Spoelstra

A strained right groin may keep point guard Goran Dragic out against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, but it also may give Dion Waiters an opportunity to return to the Miami Heat’s rotation.

Waiters has only been active for two of Heat’s 19 games this season, but has yet to dress and sit on the bench for a game. He began the season suspended for “conduct detrimental to the team” after he expressed frustration about his role on the team on social media. He also missed time during the preseason for what the team labeled personal reasons.

Then on November 7, Waiters experienced what was reported as a panic attack during Miami’s flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles after consuming a THC-infused edible, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski. The Heat responded by suspending Waiters for another ten games.

This weekend Waiters apologized for the incident, “I would like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, basketball staff, the fans and the entire organization for the incident that happened on the team plane,” Waiters said in a statement. “I was wrong and take responsibility for what happened and am sorry for what it put everyone through.

“I am happy to be back with my teammates and am looking forward to getting back on the court playing basketball.”

Without committing to a role, Miami’s head coach, Erik Spoelstra, said that Waiter’s conditioning was to the point that they could get him back into the mix. The Heat are 14-5 and in third place in the East without Waiters.

Last season Waiters averaged 12.0 points per game, but missed nearly half the season with a left ankle injury. He is in the third year of a four-year, $52 million contract and the team’s third highest-paid player, behind Jimmy Butler and Dragic.

After facing the Raptors on Tuesday, the Heat visit the Celtics. Boston is in second place in the East.