Procedure to sideline Wade for rest of season
Wade will miss the remainder of the season so he can further rehabilitate his surgically repaired left knee, which has bothered him for about a year. He will undergo a powerful shock-wave treatment later this week, and hopes he will be pain free in time for next season.
"I'm doing what's right," Wade said Monday night. "I would love to be out there with my teammates, but in the long run, I think my teammates would love for me to be healthy and be out there with them when we're fighting to get in the playoffs again."
There's no chance of that this year -- Miami dropped to an NBA-worst 11-51 on Monday night, falling to the Los Angeles Clippers, 99-98.
So, with all hope of saving this dismal season gone, Heat coach Pat Riley agreed that the time has come to shut down his All-Star guard.
"There's no doubt it's a function of the record. My God, it didn't take a news bulletin for that," Riley said. "Yes, we aren't going to make the playoffs. It's a lost season. We know that. We don't want it to be a lost career. That's how I look at it."
Wade finishes the season averaging 24.6 points, fifth-best in the NBA.
He will miss Miami's final 21 games, and essentially get about 3½ months off before the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team reconvenes to resume training for this summer's Beijing Games. Riley clearly has some concerns about seeing his franchise's best player expose himself to potential injury, but indicated he won't bar Wade from playing for his country, either.
"That's Dwyane's decision," Riley said. "He wants to be an Olympic champion."
Wade still wants to be part of that, yet acknowledged that playing in China isn't his primary goal right now.
"I'm still committed to the Olympic team," Wade said. "But right now, my focus is on getting healthy."
That's been his focus for some time.
Injuries have been a constant throughout Wade's five NBA seasons, especially since the Heat won the title in 2006. He dislocated his left shoulder last February, returned for the final few games of the regular season, but was so hobbled by knee pain that the high-flyer could barely dunk.
Surgery on both joints followed on May 15, and doctors told Wade it would take a year for the knee to feel normal again. He hasn't been at full strength since, and of late, the pain has been so severe that he could barely get out of bed on Friday.
"It's time to just move on and get him the rest he needs," Riley said. "If it's another 30 days, so be it."
Wade and the Heat have decided he'll undergo OssaTron treatment -- a high-tech, high-powered form of shock wave therapy. The non-surgical procedure lasts about 30 minutes, and afterward, Wade will be limited to passive exercise (such as swimming and bicycle work) for the first 30 days. After that, he may return to basketball-related activity.
Riley, who consulted with team physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick about the treatment, said the Heat will have the OssaTron machine delivered "in the next day or two."
"The knee will be hit with shock waves, electrical shock waves," Riley said. "It's actually a pretty painful procedure."
Chris Quinn agreed with that assessment. The Heat guard had OssaTron treatment after last season on the bottom of both feet to relieve heel and arch pain.
"It hurts a little bit," Quinn said. "It felt like if you were to stick your finger in a socket and get shocked."
OssaTron has been used to treat injuries such as plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow when other more conventional treatments fail to bring as much relief as a patient would like. Heat center Alonzo Mourning has undergone the same procedure in the past to alleviate tendinitis, Riley said.
"It's had a lot of great results," Riley said.
Wade becomes the third Heat player who's out for the season because of injuries, adding to a litany of roster woes in Miami. Mourning and forward Dorell Wright both have knee injuries and will not play the rest of the year.
A number of other Heat players are also nicked up right now, including forward Udonis Haslem (ankle), guard Marcus Banks (hamstring) and center Earl Barron (knee). Banks will miss at least a week and possibly more, said Riley, who had eight players -- the NBA minimum -- at his disposal Monday night.
"It's like one thing after another," Heat forward Shawn Marion said.
A roster spot became open Monday when Miami waived guard Smush Parker, who has been inactive most of the season because of a legal matter. Riley has said that he's considering signing a player or two to a 10-day contract, and one possibility could be guard Brian Chase, who was with the Heat in training camp.
"I can still go out there and play," Wade said. "But I can't be as good, or as whatever I am, as I want to be."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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