BOSTON – Dwyane Wade receives treatment in so many forms, he loses track of how each device affects his knee.
“If they want to hook me up to a car battery, that’s fine with me,” Wade said. “I’m going to jump on it, maybe in the playoffs.”
If all goes according to plan though, Wade won’t need a jumpstart for the postseason. He’ll be hitting his stride then.
Wade has already missed 17 games this season, but he’s feeling better and better.
“Last year at this time, I was going the opposite the way,” Wade said.
It showed in the playoffs, where Wade’s PER declined to 18.7 from 24.0 in the regular season. It’s typical for players’ production to fall as competition stiffens in the postseason, but that drop of 5.3 was the second-largest of Wade’s career. Only the extreme case of 2006-07 – when Wade missed 30 games, returned to play just five before the playoffs, still led the NBA in PER and then couldn’t stop the Bulls from sweeping Miami in the first round – saw a bigger drop.
Regular season in red. Post season in gold.
To avoid a similar fate this season, Wade has committed to the Heat’s plan that includes specialized workouts – and sitting out games he could otherwise play.
“I wasn’t comfortable with it,” said Wade, who’s already missed four more games than he did last season. “I’m sure it was uncharted waters for them as well. But it was something I felt I needed to do.”
The Heat are just 11-6 without Wade, but they see the end game.
“In order for us to contend and win, at the end of the day, he has to be on his A game,” LeBron said. “…Trying to three-peat, it’s not going to happen in June. It happens from the beginning of the season. We have to prepare every single day.”
For Wade, sometimes that preparation means sitting with what might as well be a car battery attached to his knee.
Is that worth it?
“It’s just about this picture we always call the bigger picture,” Wade said. “Who knows if it’s right or wrong? You’ve just got to make a decision and go with it.”