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NBA Miami Heat

Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade & 4 Other NBA Stars Dealing With Injuries

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Miami Heat: Will They Fall Victim To A Soft League?

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no other way to say it besides the league has gone soft. Long gone are the days when NBA players would tough it out and play through injuries and sicknesses and only miss playoff games if those injuries required surgery. Now, players are willing to sit out games with minor tweaks. I’ve even heard a few reporters suggest that Dwyane Wade should sit out against Milwaukee.

So-called sports guys will tell you that Wade will get an extra game of rest if the Heat can win without him, but nobody looks at the other side. If they lose and Wade has to come back for Game 5, he actually losses rest while trying to close out the series — all for a sore knee.

There were even thoughts that Stephen Curry would sit out a game with an ankle sprain. He eventually decided to play but, in the past, that was something that was borderline unheard of.

But the motivation for change seems to be Russell Westbrook. His season-ending injury spooked the league and has everybody moving cautiously.

“Our first thing is to make sure he gets healthy, make sure he gets that knee back right,” Kevin Durant said (via Dailythunder.com). “He wants to play. This is the playoffs. You don’t want to miss the playoffs, no matter what it is ... but like I said, the only thing I’m worried about is him getting healthy.”

I must admit, when Westbrook banged the scorer's table and tried to hobble towards the Houston Rockets bench, I thought he was just being whiny like most players. But after hearing that he tore his meniscus, you can do nothing but respect the toughness that he had to finish the second half.

Joakim Noah is another example of playing through the playoffs with heart, but more athletes and organizations are prone to take the Derrick Rose approach. They won’t sacrifice health for victories — which is why Erik Spoelstra may just take the safe route and bench D-Wade.

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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.

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Dwyane Wade (Sore Knee)

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade played last years, playoffs with an injured knee but may choose to sit out and rest while the playoffs are still early.

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Stephen Curry (Sprained Ankle)

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

A sprained ankle nearly kept Stephen Curry out for Game 3 versus the Denver Nuggets, but he decided to play and lead the Golden State Warriors to victory.

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Derrick Rose (Torn ACL)

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Although physically cleared to return, Derrick Rose has been criticized for teasing fans in pregame warm-ups while claiming not to be mentally ready.

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Joakim Noah (Plantar Fasciitis)

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Joakim Noah's ability to log heavy minutes on one foot has people wondering why a fully healthy Derrick Rose wouldn't suit up.

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Russell Westbrook (Torn Meniscus)

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The fact that Russell Westbrook played two and a half quarters with a season-ending injury and was forced into surgery makes him as one of the NBA's throwback tough guys.