“We had to see certain things before we could clear him,” Spoelstra said. “And nobody wanted a setback. Not now.”
That was the mantra with Wade all season, especially after how both knees hurt so much during last season’s playoffs. To get ready for the toughest time of year, Wade first had to accept some tough realities.
Wade was 155th in the NBA in minutes played this season, appearing in only 54 games. Most of those absences — starting with the second game of the regular season — were because of a knee-maintenance program. He knew there were critics of how much or how little he was playing, but the Heat were undeterred and stayed with the plan.
“It was what it was,” Wade said. “Like we said coming in, it was going to be a different year. From year to year, you don’t know what to expect. You come in hoping for the best, but you’ve got to be prepared and ready for everything. And that’s where we were and that’s where I was. It happened and we move on and we’ve got two more months of basketball, hopefully.”
It’s simple: When Wade is good, the Heat are great. When he shoots over 60 percent, the Heat are 17-3 this season. When he has at least 23 points, as he had Sunday, they’re 13-4.
“We all still know what D-Wade brings to the table,” James said. “And we’re going to need that.”
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.