Call him superstitious or call him smart, but Dwyane Wade decided not to take any chances Monday night in the Heat’s first preseason game.
Feeling tightness in his legs from a tough training camp, Wade sat out the exhibition after consulting with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and team trainers. Wade started Sunday in the Heat’s scrimmage and moved well throughout the practice, but after reminding himself of what happened in a preseason game the last time he felt this good, he chose not to press his luck.
In the 2010 preseason, Wade pulled his hamstring three minutes into the Heat’s first exhibition game. He then sat out the rest of the preseason and the Heat struggled to find a rhythm when he returned to the lineup to begin the regular season.
“In 2010, I kind of knew then that my hammy was a little tight, but I was so excited to play, it was the first time with all of us and … pow! I don’t want any setbacks, so I’m going to be smart about things,” Wade said. “I’m taking everything day by day.”
Similar to this preseason, the Heat had a training camp away from Miami in 2010.
“That was the [Air Force] base and all that running and everything we were doing,” Wade said. “I do have that in mind, so I’m taking it a little smarter than before. … I feel like I’ve worked very hard these last couple days and playing [Sunday], so I’m going to take it a little easy, a little slower.”
Wade said he plans to practice on Tuesday and expects to play in Detroit on Thursday in the Heat’s second preseason game. Based on Wade’s cautious approach, he could sit out Friday in Kansas City, where the Heat plays the Charlotte Bobcats.
Wade had an aggressive form of knee therapy in July, which required him to take a month’s rest. Known as OssaTron shock wave therapy, the procedure stimulates blood flow to promote healing.
After his recovery and down time, Wade worked with trainer Tim Grover on trimming down and strengthening his legs. Wade struggled through the 2013 postseason with deep bone bruises to his knee.
“Last year was hell at certain moments with the pain that I was going through,” Wade said. “Trying to eliminate as much as you can in the beginning, that’s what I was trying to do this summer.”
LeBron James has been impressed by Wade’s new body this preseason. Asked Monday about his initial impressions of the team, James said Wade looks younger and quicker, but also in better spirits than previous training camps.
In 2011 and ’12, Wade was limited because of offseason procedures. He had his knee scoped in ’12.
“Just seeing his explosiveness and his quickness, his lateral quickness, everything,” James said of Wade.
“He looks healthy, he feels healthy, he shows it more than anything on his face when he’s healthy, and that’s a great sign. … This is the best I’ve seen him since Year One.”
This and that
In addition to Wade, Michael Beasley, Chris Andersen, Udonis Haslem and Greg Oden did not play in Monday night’s preseason game.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said that Beasley was “kicked in the calf but he is still able to do some work.”
On Andersen, Spoelstra said, “He has a sore foot from training camp. It’s more blister-related.”