PHILADELPHIA – Dwyane Wade‘s health and durability is a big question for the Miami Heat, both this season and long term (in regard to whether LeBron James sees more championships in Miami’s future).
So the news that Wade would sit out the second game of the season — Wednesday in Philadelphia — was certainly interesting. And there are two ways you can look at it.
Though the decision, made by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and trainer Jay Sabol, wasn’t a huge surprise, it’s a little troublesome that Wade isn’t in good enough shape to handle a back-to-back at this point. Spoelstra said that Wade’s knee was “a little bit sore, but nothing dramatic or of major concern.”
“I’d love to feel better,” Wade said, “but [it's a] quick turnaround.”
The playoffs are 5 1/2 months away, of course. How Wade feels in April, May and June is much, much, much more important than how he feels in late October. And that, more than any soreness he’s feeling, is the biggest reason why he sat on Wednesday and will likely sit in future back-to-backs.
“There will be routine meetings [regarding Wade's maintenance],” Spoelstra said. “The discussion was between Jay, myself and Dwyane.
“It’s not going to be consistent, necessarily, all year that he won’t play back-to-backs.”
Certainly, Wednesday’s opponent had something to do with the decision. The Sixers are the consensus pick to finish last in the Eastern Conference, though they shocked everybody in the building by outscoring the Heat 23-2 to start the game.
The Heat have two back-to-backs in November, with Charlotte and Orlando as the two second-night opponents. So if you’re a Roger Mason Jr. fan in either of those two cities, you’ll probably be happy with who’s in the starting lineup when the champs come visit.
Beyond that, we’ll see how much caution the Heat take with their second star.
“I’m not thinking that far,” Wade said. “I’m just going to leave it here. It’s the second game of the season.”
Stay tuned. And feel free to think of Wade’s maintenance program as a positive (it’s all about June) or a negative (they’re worried enough to sit him in Game 2).
“If they needed me to play, I’d be playing,” Wade said. “Just being smart.”