UPDATE 6:55 p.m. ET: Wade told reporters before the game that he will play in Game 5. It’s worth monitoring his minutes and his usage to see just how much he’s able to give while playing with the lingering injury.
12:30 p.m. ET:Dwyane Wade participated in shootaround for the Heat Wednesday morning, but is listed as a game-time decision for Game 5 against the Bulls.
Wade is suffering through a knee injury, which was reaggravated during Miami’s Game 4 win in Chicago on Monday.
“He had a very good day [Tuesday] and a good shootaround,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said, via ESPN.com. “We’ll evaluate him before the game and go from there.”
If Wade is medically cleared to play, Spoelstra will let him do so without restrictions.
“If he’s able to go, there’s no excuses and he’ll give us everything he’s got,” Spoelstra said. “He’ll help us on both sides of the court. He’s one of the best two-way players in this game. He’s been making an impact regardless of what people think about that last column in the box score.”
That last part is Spoelstra continuing to defend Wade in the face of criticism that he simply isn’t performing at the level we’ve come to expect, and that his sub-par level of activity might not be enough for the Heat to reach their ultimate goal of repeating as champions.
The answer might be to sit Wade in Game 5 to give his knee some extra time to rest, just as Miami did in the series-clinching game of its first round series against the Bucks. But it’s a little trickier with this Bulls team considering the fight they’ve shown at times in this series, and the Heat will likely have anywhere from four to six days to prepare for the Eastern Conference finals if they can close out Chicago on Wednesday.