ORLANDO — Dwyane Wade missed his second straight game on Wednesday due to soreness in his knee and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra indicated that more scheduled rest could be in store for the Heat’s starting shooting guard.
Wade attempted to play in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday for the first time this season but appeared to experience a physical setback on the second night of the demanding home-and-away set. Wade went to the locker room before Saturday’s game ended in Charlotte and then was a late scratch on Tuesday against the Hawks. He traveled with the team to Orlando but did not play.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra stressed before the game that the Heat wants “to make sure that [Wade] is getting stronger and feeling better as the season goes on.” Wade appeared to be in good spirits in the Heat’s pregame locker room at Amway Center and even cracked a joke with reporters. Wade did not speak on the record, though, per team’s media policy for injured players.
James Jones started for the second night in a row in place of Wade.
“Health is No.1 for us,” LeBron James said. “In order for us to compete for a championship, at the end of the day, we have to be healthy or as close to healthy as possible. And we understand that.
“D-Wade is definitely a huge part of the puzzle, so we want him to feel as comfortable as possible when he’s ready to come back.”
Wade played with pain in his knee during the Heat’s 2013 championship run and underwent OssaTron shock wave therapy this summer in an attempt to stimulate healing. Full recovery from the therapy could be as long as six months.
“It has been an ongoing thing,” James said. “He’s feeling a lot better this year than he was last year, but he wants to be smart about it and we respect that.”
Spoelstra said Wade would be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. He sat out the second night of the Heat’s first back-to-back of the season, and the decision for him to play against Charlotte was based on how he felt at the time, Spoelstra said before Wednesday’s game. Initially, Wade didn’t expect to play against the Bobcats, but the Heat was shorthanded after Mario Chalmers was suspended by the NBA and Ray Allen was out with flu-like symptoms.
“Over the weekend, it was sore, so we wanted to use these last couple of days to get him healthy and then get him back training, start building his legs back up and, as we said, there is no other way to assess it but day by day,” Spoelstra said. “He could wake up tomorrow and feel incredible and then we’ll go from there. So, we’ll just see how he feels tomorrow.
“We do have a plan and we want to be patient with it. We want to be disciplined with it, considering all the circumstances.”
Wade has played in nine games this season and is averaging 16.7 points per game. He set a career-high for steals against the Mavericks on Friday and the following night went 1 of 7 from the field for four points against Charlotte.
“He’s ahead of schedule from where we anticipated probably in July after the OssaTron therapy but we know with these procedures that it will take time and we’ll be patient with it and monitor and have constant communication,” Spoelstra said. “It’s part of the process and when we talked about it coming into training camp we knew there would be a lot of speculation, every move. And that’s where the discipline comes. We do have a plan but the plan is to evaluate every day and that’s probably not the answer everyone wants to hear.”