Heat Apply for Disabled-Player Salary-Cap Exception in Wake of Justise Winslow’s Injury

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After Justise Winslow had surgery on Thursday to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Miami Heat general manager Andy Elisburg confirmed to reporters today that the team is “in the process of making the request” to the NBA for a $1.3 million disabled-player salary-cap exception.

According to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, the exception cannot be aggregated with any other exception or salaries, meaning it cannot be used to acquire a player earning in excess of $1.3 million.

“It doesn’t give you anything with a roster spot, it just gives you a salary slot for half the contract for the player you get the exception for, on a one-year contract,” Elisburg said. “You can either use it for a trade or free agency. But if it is a trade, a player has to be in the last year of his contract. If it’s free agency, then you have to be able to sign a player to a one-year contract.”

However, the Heat will only be granted this exception if an NBA-designated physician determines that Winslow is “substantially more likely than not” unable to play through June 15. If granted, the team would have to use it by March 10.

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The Heat are expected to “bank the exception for potential future use” because of how they already have a maximum 15 players on their roster. A roster spot could open up in advance of March 10 if the Heat move for salary cap relief from Chris Bosh‘s contract.

Even though the Heat’s front office is making moves to bolster the injury-ravaged roster, the players and coaches have not forgotten about Winslow. After today’s shootaround, Heat players sent their good wishes to Winslow via FaceTime.

“He’s already recovering,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We just Facetimed with him after the shootaround. So he’s already on the rebound right now.”

Spoelstra is confident that the 20-year-old will be back but told him to take the recovery step by step.

“Just continue to be patient,” Spoelstra said. “He’s a very mature young man. He understands the big picture. It doesn’t make it any less painful being out the rest of the season. Guys want to be out there and play. He put in a lot of time in the offseason to prepare for this year and there’s a lot of things in this game that you can’t control. But you can control your mindset and your approach with the hand you’ve been dealt from here on out. So right now it’s just about recovery for the next six weeks and rest, and then at that point we’ll be able to start the process of building his body back.”

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Atreya is currently attending Purdue University and loves to watch and follow the NBA. He grew up in Alabama so he loves his Auburn Tigers just as much as he does the Miami Heat. He’s been a huge fan of the team since that magical 2006 title run and still believes Dwyane Wade can drop 50 on any given night. He’s extremely excited to be writing about the team he loves and keeping Heat Nation up to date on all things Heat. You can follow him on Twitter @atreya_verma.