HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Dwyane Wade was thrown a surprise birthday party over the weekend by LeBron James, who got T.I. and Rick Ross to rap until the break of dawn. Best part of the night? Wade didn’t break a leg on the dance floor.
That comes as much relief to the Heat, because as we know, Wade isn’t the sturdiest of superstars. Reliable? Of course. A gamer? Absolutely. Championship-tested and true? You bet. Brittle? Unfortunately, yes.
Let’s keep this in context, before we go on. Wade has never missed significant time in the postseason and his body always seems to get itself together for the big games and big moments. And yet, the guy just can’t make it through a season without grabbing a body part and putting Miami on alert. The scary part is that Wade isn’t getting any younger; he turns 30 on Tuesday and therefore these tweaks and pulls must be taken a bit more seriously than before.
At the moment, Wade is nursing a bad ankle, which he injured late in the loss to the Nuggets. In the past, it’s been a list of ailments that managed to keep Wade from playing a full 82 games. At this point, it wouldn’t be a normal season without the sight of Wade sitting on the bench in a designer suit. That may be good for the designer, not so good for the Heat. Not really, anyway.
Israel Gutierrez, the fine writer for the Miami Herald who has followed Wade for years, believes the injury can be a blessing in disguise, if only because it forces LeBron to work solo and other players to step up their game.
And here’s Chris Bosh:
“He needs to just chill out right now, get better and we’ll hold it down until he comes back.”
Yes, there is something to be gained by Wade sitting, from a performance standpoint. And in this abbreviated season, with games coming fast and hard, it’s better to sit Wade as long as necessary. But the issue is Wade’s body and whether it can be trusted in the spring. How many times can Miami count on that body to stay strong enough for the playoffs? At what point does the Heat’s luck run out in that regard?
In the meantime, LeBron will feel like he’s in Cleveland again, although he does have the presence of Bosh, who’s better than any teammate LeBron had with the Cavs. With the Spurs and Lakers up this week, and no guarantee we’ll see Wade on the floor, this will be an interesting week for the Heat.
Better to keep Wade out these games now, so he can be healthy in case Miami sees either team again this summer.