Midway through the second quarter of the Heat’s Game 4 win over the Bulls, Dwyane Wade reaggravated an injury to his right knee that he’s been struggling to deal with all season long.
We’ve seen the severity of the injury manifest itself in Wade’s game-to-game performances. He’s simply not been the explosive All-Star capable of consistently dominating for stretches offensively that we’re used to seeing.
Because of last night’s knee bump with Jimmy Butler and the subsequent treatment on the bench Wade required to return to the game, it gave reporters a chance to ask about the bandage on the knee that was revealed due to the trainer having to adjust it.
The unsettling details, from Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com:
“This was just the first time you’ve seen it, other times I’ve been able to not show you,” Wade said after the game before revealing a rather gnarly detail about the bandage that certainly helps explain his troubles in the postseason.
“I’m taping it. When you have a [bone] bruise, you try to move the kneecap over so it won’t rub. When you get into game sweat you have to re-tape it a bit.”
Moving the kneecap over, even if that’s just athlete/trainer jargon, is not a reassuring revelation.
Wade’s numbers are way down this postseason — in part because Miami is cruising, but also due to the limitations of the knee injury.
During the Heat’s run to the championship a season ago, in 23 total playoff games, Wade averaged 22.8 points on 18.5 shots in 39.4 minutes per contest. Through seven games in these playoffs, Wade is averaging just 12.3 points on 11.7 shots in 32.4 minutes a night.
Again, part of this is due to the fact that against the Bucks and the Bulls, Wade’s services are not needed. Miami would have won each of those series with Wade on the sidelines, and in fact, they did rest him for the Game 4 series-clinching win over Milwaukee in the first round.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Heat take similar precautions with Wade the rest of the way against the Bulls, in order to give him an extended rest before the Conference finals begin. Because whether against the Pacers or Knicks in the next round or in the NBA Finals, at some point the Heat are going to need a bigger contribution from Wade to reach their ultimate goal of repeating as champions.