NBA Miami Heat

5 Games Dwyane Wade Should Sit Out For Miami Heat

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Stay The Course

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

All season, Dwyane Wade and Erik Spoelstra have expressed no concern over Wade’s ailing knees and his extra time off. Of course when a player is making close to $20 million a season you expect 110 percent from him all year long, but in Wade’s case, it is all about the playoffs.

The Miami Heat have managed well in games that Wade has missed, going 10-6 in the 16 games not played by “Flash." 16 games is a sizable chunk of the season, and I believe that Wade will miss more. Despite missing nearly a quarter of the season already, Wade is not worried and neither is Spoelstra. Both continue to tell the media that this is all part of Wade’s maintenance program and that May is when he needs to be completely healthy.

Wade’s maintenance program had me worried during the first half of the season because he had missed a significant number of games, and even though he was getting extra rest, it didn’t seem to be paying off. But now it looks like this strategy is working.

Since the NBA All-Star Break, the Heat have had seven games, Wade playing in six of them. In those six games, he is averaging 21.8 points, 5.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds. He is also averaging 1.5 steals a game, which is a great sign that his knees are healthy. We all remember the young Wade who could jump the passing lane and break away for the dunk. We have begun to see more of the sly, quick, euro-stepping Wade we had been accustomed to.

Right now it looks like the maintenance program Wade has been on is beginning to pay dividends, but there are still 24 games left in the season. That is 24 opportunities for Wade to get injured or 24 opportunities for him to get a bone bruise, one of the injuries that hobbled him for last year’s playoffs.

That being said, it would be best that Wade and Spoelstra continue to a strict maintenance program until the playoffs, especially now that it has shown results. Here are five games the Wade should miss for the rest of the season.

Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantSports, "Like" him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.

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3/19/14 at Boston Celtics

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Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Even with Rajon Rondo's return, the Boston Celtics continue to struggle in the East. With a record of 20-40, they don’t pose much of a threat to Miami, let alone the playoff race itself. This is a perfect opportunity to give Wade some extra rest and give a role player some extra playing time. Oh, and it is the second part of a back-to-back set, so I wouldn’t expect D-Wade to play anyway.

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3/22/14 at New Orleans Pelicans

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Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans are far behind in the playoff race out West, but they have youth on their side which is dangerous. For the Heat it could very well be a trap game, but Chris Bosh and LeBron James can more than handle it. With both the Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers scheduled after the Pelicans, Wade could really use this night off.

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3/29/14 at Milwaukee Bucks

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

With absolutely no chance at the postseason and really no reason to even be in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks are like an injured baby zebra being hunted by a pack of lions. That pack of lions is Miami. The Bucks have almost locked up the worst record in the league, currently at 12-47, so is there really any reason for Wade to participate in this game? I don’t think so.

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4/2/14 vs. Milwaukee Bucks

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Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat play the Bucks twice in three games, which is just another opportunity for Wade to rest. Actually, Spoelstra should consider resting more than just Wade and really give the bench players some extended court action. After all, Milwaukee has been all but forgotten as a professional basketball team.

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4/16/14 vs. Philadelphia 76ers

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Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In the final game of the season for the defending champs, Miami will play host to the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers aren’t much better than the Bucks, and with it being the final game before the playoffs, Wade might as well sit out. It would look really dumb if Wade got seriously injured against a terrible team in the last game of the season. Expect Wade and maybe even the entire “Big 3” to sit out for the conclusion of the 2013-14 season.