For weeks, the Miami Heat have known that they would be the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Once the team’s winning streak was snapped at 27 games by the Chicago Bulls, the club used it as an opportunity to rest its top stars for the playoffs.
LeBron James sat out three games with what the team called a hamstring injury, but it’s likely that the three-time MVP would have played if Miami needed a win. Dwyane Wade has sat out the past four games because of his ankle and knee, but his injuries might be more serious.
While James returned to the court on Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wade did not play. It also looks like the veteran will miss the team’s Tuesday night contest against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Should the Heat be concerned about Wade’s health with the postseason around the corner?
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Before Miami played Philadelphia, head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters that Wade had prolonged swelling in his right knee. Spoelstra did not give a date for Wade’s expected return, saying, “his body will tell us when we play him.”
Last season, Wade battled through issues with his left knee and had to have it drained in Miami’s second round-series with the Indiana Pacers. He had surgery after the NBA Finals to help him fully recuperate.
Both Wade’s ankle and knee are bothering, so it’s unknown when he’ll be ready to take the court. He hasn’t ruled out sitting for the remainder of the regular season.
"The most important thing is to be healthy," Wade said on Sunday. "So when I feel it, then I'll get back on the court. Obviously, I want to play. But I have to make sure that I'm right. You have to get healthy."
Even if Wade doesn’t play in any of the remaining six games on the Heat’s schedule, it doesn’t appear that either injury will keep him out for much longer than that.
“Everything structurally is probably the best he’s felt in years, so that is the good thing,” said Spoelstra.
Still, there is some concern regarding Miami’s No.2 scorer. James will likely win the MVP award for the fourth time in five years, but Wade has been one of the best players in the 2012-2013 NBA season. He’s averaging 21.3 points, five rebounds and five assists per game on 52.1 percent field goal shooting.
The 2013 NBA playoffs will start on April 20.