Miami Heat’s Justise Winslow is already on his way to a comeback

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 21: Justise Winslow
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 21: Justise Winslow /

After missing the majority of the 2016-17 season due to injury, Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow is already on his way towards a comeback.

Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow isn’t ready to make a comeback. He’s already doing so.

Having missed the majority of 2016-17 with a shoulder injury, the 21-year-old fell a few steps behind the rest of the team. Because while they were building chemistry both on and off the court, Winslow was working on rehabbing himself as best he could.

The timing couldn’t have been worse, either.

As a rookie, the Houston-native saw time in 78 games, starting eight. And averaged 6.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists a game in 28.6 minutes of play. Numbers that surprised most fans, considering Winslow averaged 12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals per matchup in 29.1 minutes (increasing to 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds a contest in the NCAA tournament). So naturally, a portion of Heat Nation was disappointed in the first-year.

The forward was well aware of this though, and was looking forward to proving the haters wrong during his sophomore campaign.

Already more comfortable with not just pro ball but more specifically Miami Heat Basketball, Winslow hit the ground running. He averaged 14.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.0 block a game during the month of October, recording a season-high and career-best 23 points and 13 rebounds against the Los Angeles Lakers in December.

But then, in January, the young fella was ruled out for the remainder of the year with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. An injury that would require surgery.

So after playing just 18 games in his second season, Winslow was sidelined. Unable to continue proving his worth. That is, until now.

"“It feels great to be back,” said Winslow. “I had to go through some trials and tribulations last year with the injuries, but everything happens for a reason. With my rehab, I always understood that it was part of a bigger picture, and that the smaller steps and smaller pieces would add up in the end.”"

And they sure have. Only two games into Miami’s 2017-18 run, and Winslow looks better than ever. Between his energetic burst, improved shot selection and increased defensive IQ… Heat fans should expect big things from their third-year. There’s no need to worry about his shoulder either. Because post-rehab, he’s stronger than before.

"“The rehab was tough, but it helped me get stronger and more athletic with everything I had to do… it also allowed me to focus on the other areas of my body that weren’t injured.”"

It shows too. A la James Johnson, Dion Waiters and now Kelly Olynyk, the forward looks leaner and more toned.

"“I do a lot of cardio… anything to try to burn out the legs and then push yourself mentally to keep going, keep fighting through. Whether it’s sprints, climbing the hill, anything that really gets the legs burning—that’s what you need to keep up with guys in this league.”"

Next: Takeaways from the Miami Heat's win over the Indiana Pacers

While Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow is still a work in progress regarding learning his role moving forward, he has already done a great job getting himself back into game shape, the first step of a comeback.