Dwyane Wade’s Olympic glory is officially a postscript in his career.
The Heat’s shooting guard withdrew his name from the player pool for the U.S. Basketball Men’s National Team on Thursday, telling USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that his ailing left knee will require surgery.
“While every part of me wants to be in London, I need to take this time to do what’s best to improve my health and allow me to continue to play the game I love,” Wade told Team USA.
Wade received the diagnosis from Heat team physician Harlan Selesnick on Thursday before informing Colangelo and Krzyzewski. Colangelo told USA Today that Wade will require surgery immediately. A person close to Wade told The Herald that a date for Wade’s surgery has not been set, but the surgery will likely take place within the week.
Wade’s knee limited him during the 66-game, lockout-shortened season, although the 17 games he missed were attributed to various injuries.
“Throughout the season, I struggled with a recurring knee issue,” Wade said. “After the championship game, I visited with my doctors for a round of comprehensive medical tests, and the recent results dictate the need for surgery.”
The London Games would have been Wade’s third Olympics. He led Team USA to a gold medal in 2008 as the team’s leading scorer. Colangelo said on Thursday that Team USA wasn’t caught off guard by Wade’s decision. “D-Wade has a lot of equity with USA Basketball and has made great contributions to our program,” Colangelo said. “We’re sorry he won’t be with us this summer, but we know he’ll be with us in spirit.”
Despite the pain in his knee, Wade averaged more than 22 points per game during the Heat’s 2012 NBA championship run. His knee was drained of fluid during the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Indiana Pacers.
On April 3, Wade missed a home game against Philadelphia with a bruised knee. The injury occurred two days earlier in Boston. From there, he was significantly limited for the final month of the regular season. He sat out eight of the final 15 games in April.
“We’re totally supportive of Dwyane’s decision and hope that he has a full and speedy recovery,” Krzyzewski said.
“He has been an amazing member of USA Basketball, playing in two Olympics, one world championship, and has served the USA in such an extemporary manner.
“We’ve loved having in our program, and we’ll miss him in London.”
Krzyzewski has gone 26-1 in Team USA games with Wade as a member.
Wade was hoping to share the Olympic experience with his sons but now will spend the offseason rehabilitating his knee for the 2012-13 season.
“It was an honor to represent my country in 2004 and in 2008 when we won the gold medal,” Wade said. “My thoughts and best wishes will travel with Team USA as they prepare to bring home the gold.”