HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The team representing the United States in the Olympics next month in London could significantly different from the team most of us expected to take make the trip.
With Dwyane Wade‘s announcement today that he’ll have knee surgery and be out of commission for six to eight weeks, that knocks another player off of USA Basketball’s master list of stars available for the competition:
“I’ve decided to listen to my doctors and get the procedure I need on my knee,” Wade told The Associated Press on Thursday. “USA Basketball said I had to do what was best for me. They want me to be obviously as healthy as possible so I can continue to play this game at a high level. They were very supportive and told me if I ever want to come around the team, I’m welcome and that I’m part of the family.”
Wade and his doctors are in the process of scheduling the surgery. Wade has been told it will be basically a “cleanup” procedure and should have him on crutches for only about a day afterward.
If all goes according to plan, Wade will be ready for the start of training camp with the Heat this fall.
“That’s the way we laid it out,” Wade said. “Hopefully nothing changes. … I don’t think it’s going to limit me too much.”
Wade’s first obligation, of course, is to the Miami Heat. So him missing the Olympics to get himself ready for the Heat’s title defense next season is a decision no one can argue with.
But his absence, along with that of Dwight Howard, and potentially others, have to rank as the stiffest blows to a player pool that seems to be shrinking as the competition draws near. There are just 17 players vying for 12 spots on the team that will compete in London.
The original pool of players to choose from was 20. But after injuries to Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Howard.
Thunder guard James Harden and projected No. 1 pick in tonight’s NBA Draft Anthony Davis were added to the player pool earlier this month.
Still, Wade was the leading scorer on the team that won gold in Beijing and Howard was the interior centerpiece of that team. Competing without both of them, as well as Rose and Billups, makes things a little more interesting for the home team and the rest of the field, as well.