Dwyane Wade might be missing games for reasons other than the Heat’s “maintenance program.”
Before Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade has had prolonged swelling in his right knee. Wade rested for his fourth consecutive game Saturday while LeBron James returned to action.
“He has to resolve the swelling right now from getting hit in the knee,” Spoelstra said “That is the issue. His body will tell us when we play him.”
Wade last played against the New Orleans Hornets on March 29. According to Spoelstra, Wade was “beat up” in that game and banged his right knee going to the ground.
The injury apparently has lingered. Wade also has had problems with his right ankle this season.
“The issue is both,” Spoelstra said. “He got hit right on top of his knee twice. … Everything structurally is probably the best he’s felt in years, so that is the good thing.”
Wade had problems with his left knee last season. He played through an injury in the postseason and even had fluid drained from his knee during the second-round series with Indiana. Wade then had surgery in the offseason and was slow to returning to top form this season.
The upshot of Wade’s time on the bench has been an offensive explosion from Mike Miller, who had seven three-pointers against the Charlotte Bobcats. Miller had 15 three-pointers in his last three games entering Saturday, which was his fifth start in a row.
“He is a great weapon to have,” Spoelstra said. “The fact that he is healthy right now at this time of year and that he is able to get these games in is working out because he will have a role in the playoffs.”
Miller scored 26 points against the Bobcats on Friday, one game after pouring in 18 in the first half against the Knicks.
On Saturday, he drilled his first three-point attempt of the game against the Sixers and the Heat went 5 of 7 from three-point range in the first quarter.
After Miller’s game against New York, he said he was approaching the final two weeks of the season as a tryout for the playoffs.
Chris Bosh joined Wade on the bench against the 76ers as part of the Heat’s “maintenance program.” Spoelstra said Bosh hyper-extended his knee against the Spurs and added that Bosh’s knee “has just been sore with all the work that he’s been doing.”
Bosh averaged 21.3 points per game without James and Wade.
In place of Bosh, Joel Anthony received his first start of the season and Udonis Haslem shifted from center to power forward.