Dwyane Wade’s regular-season maintenance program unofficially began on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade missed the second game of the season and the second night of the Heat’s back-to-back because of “a little bit” of soreness in his knee, but the coach added that it’s “nothing dramatic or a major concern.”
The status of the Heat’s starting shooting guard was listed as “inactive, rest” on Wednesday’s lineup card, and Wade said before the game that he plans to play on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.
On Tuesday night, Wade said that he was looking forward to seeing how his knee responded to the first back-to-back of the regular season. The Heat’s trainers had a different idea — for Wade to not play at all.
“The trainers didn’t feel like they wanted me to go [Wednesday],” Wade said. “It’s the first back-to-back, and I hadn’t played a back-to-back in the preseason and this is the first one, and they didn’t want to chance it. It’s just precautionary.”
Then, Wade added with a wry smile, “My team is all right. We’re OK.”
Wade missed the first, third and fifth games of the preseason. If his pattern of missing the second game of back-to-backs continues, he could rest at Charlotte on Nov. 16 and at Orlando on Nov. 20. Spoelstra said Wade’s inactivity Wednesday was “part of the plan.”
“It’s not necessarily our rule that he won’t play back-to-backs,” Spoelstra said. “It’s just been a long week in terms of our preparations. His knee is a little bit sore, but nothing dramatic or a major concern. We’re just going to be proactive with it.”
Spoelstra said the final decision to rest Wade came during Wednesday’s walkthrough. Routine meetings between Spoelstra, Wade and the Heat’s training staff will determine when Wade rests this season, according to the Heat’s coach.
LeBron James said Wade shouldn’t “feel any pressure” to play and that keeping him healthy was “the most important thing.”
“Obviously, it’s however he feels,” James said. “With our team, we’ve got guys that can step in and fill the void. The most important thing is his health. And if he needs to take the second game of the season, 30th game, 50th game, 80th game, then that’s the way it is.”
With Wade out, Roger Mason Jr. was inserted into the Heat’s starting lineup one night after being inactive for the season opener. Mason played the first four minutes of the game and the Heat fell behind 15-0.
Philadelphia great Allen Iverson announced his retirement at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center.
James, who has called Iverson one of his greatest influences as a player, rattled off several of his favorite memories of Iverson before the game and also said he enjoyed playing with Iverson in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Iverson, 38, is 19th on the career scoring list with 24,368 points.
Both James and Wade called Iverson one of the “all-time greats,” and Wade said he understood why Iverson retired from the NBA instead of accepting a lesser role as a player off the bench.
“It’s just not what he wanted for himself, and you have to respect him for going out and saying, ‘Listen, if I’m not going to be the top dog, then I’m going to walk away from the game,’ and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Wade said.
“He had 14 great, unbelievable years in this league and he went out the way he wanted to go out.”