Dwyane Wade with miss his fourth consecutive game and the 13th of the season Thursday night as the Miami Heat host the Los Angeles Lakers. The quintessential shooting-guard to the Heat rotation, Wade has battled chronic knee issues all season and is currently going through his longest absent streak of this season. Both Erik Spoelstra and the Heat organization have said that it is nothing to panic over, but Wade hasn’t gotten much healthier since undergoing shock treatment this summer.
Between Wade’s ongoing knee battle and Miami’s investment in this season, the franchise cannot risk to have an unhealthy Wade come April and May. That is exactly what they got last season and it nearly cost them their second straight NBA title. So, based on the Heat’s current predicament, would they be better off sitting Wade until after the All-Star Break?
At this point, I would say yes. Miami has nine games, including Thursday night’s battle with the Lakers. They have second place in the East all but locked up, and Wade must be 100 percent for the postseason if the Heat want to win a third consecutive title. He has already missed four straight games, and although the Heat have a tough stretch of games before the break, a strong push after the break is more important.
Another important aspect is team chemistry and Miami’s lack of it. LeBron James recently expressed frustration over Wade’s absences and the lack of chemistry. If Spoelstra decides to rest Wade until mid-February, the hope would be that he can return and play the rest of the season. He wouldn’t have to rest games and the Heat could build a plenty of chemistry in their rotation before the playoffs. There’s always the chance that Wade will have to miss more games down the stretch, but right now it seems best to sit him for the next few weeks to prepare him for the final push to a third consecutive championship.