Dwyane Wade missed his third straight game Tuesday night as the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics. Wade’s absences have become somewhat normal for the defending champions. The star guard has been dealing with knee soreness all season after undergoing a shock-wave treatment last summer. The procedure was supposed to help heal Wade’s crumbling knees, but he has already missed 12 games this season as the NBA passes the halfway point.
As usual, Erik Spoelstra has assured us that they are simply following a maintenance program for Wade, knowing the importance of having him healthy for the playoffs, but with the All-Star Break right around the corner, it is time to begin to worry. Wade’s knees have shown little signs of significantly improving, and this latest stretch of struggle and absences is no way to ease the mind. With so much riding on this season and summer, Miami cannot afford for Wade to be at anything but 100 percent. Unfortunately, it looks like LeBron James might have had enough of waiting on Wade’s chronic knee problems to go away.
“I’m not a doctor, I’m only a player, man”, said James in regard to Wade. “I don’t know the program he’s on. I do know that his knee, if he’s feeling good, he’s going to play. If he’s not feeling good, he doesn’t play.” For James and the Heat, the frustration is understandable. Although the champs sit in second place in the Eastern Conference, they have had somewhat of a dull season. They have not shown that championship mentality that we have seen the last two seasons. Instead, Miami has looked bored with their competition, leaving the door open for the occasional letdown. But the “occasional letdown” has become more of the norm for the Heat recently.
I would usually go with the argument “it’s only January,” but January is almost over and the season is over halfway complete. It is time to settle down and focus in because not only is a third consecutive championship on the line, but the future of James, Wade and Chris Bosh also hang in the balance. It is believed that Wade’s health status will play a major role in James’ free agency decision. If James’ latest sound off is any sort of clue as to what the MVP might be thinking about come this summer, his stint in South Beach might be finished.