The most anticipated game of the season is only a few days away, and the Heat’s two best players are injured.
Chris Bosh remains out with a strained calf, and Dwyane Wade’s latest setback is a bruised right knee. Wade missed Sunday’s home game against the Boston Celtics after aggravating a preexisting knee injury. With the Heat’s two offensive stars out, the Heat started a hodgepodge lineup of Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers, Luol Deng, Shawne Williams and Chris Andersen against Boston.
Wade is expected to return in time to play LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas Day, but Bosh is questionable. Bosh is hoping for the best but preparing himself mentally for having to watch the Heat’s game in the national from the bench.
“I hope so,” Bosh said of making it back in time, “but I’ve been saying that before and they were like, ‘OK, take it easy. Just work today.’ Health is the priority. I’m keeping the bigger picture, even though it’s getting smaller. I’m keeping a big picture in mind.”
Bosh has been receiving many different forms of treatment daily to speed up recovery time.
“Electric, water, ice, heat, all that good stuff,” Bosh said, and then referenced the film Karate Kid. “I’m going to call Mr. Miyagi tonight. See if he can do me like Daniel Son.”
Bosh missed his fifth consecutive game Sunday and didn’t rule out being out another month. He called that a worst-case scenario, though.
“It’s just kind of reporting on everything and how everything is responding to the treatment,” Bosh said. “Usually, it’s like the next day. You can’t really pay attention to what’s going on today, but the next day it’s how you feel.”
In addition to Bosh’s absence, the Heat also was without center Hassan Whiteside against the Celtics. Another Heat center, Justin Hamilton, left the game in the first half with a headache and did not return. Hamilton left the game in the second quarter and was taken to the locker room after speaking with a trainer on the bench.
Whiteside, who had something of a breakout performance Friday in the Heat’s loss to the Wizards, missed Sunday’s game after losing two toenails. Whiteside had his foot stepped on by Nene, and the team doctor was forced to remove Whiteside’s toenails afterward.
Whiteside said it was “nothing serious” and expects to play on Tuesday against the Philadelphia 76ers. He had two bandages on his toes Sunday after the procedure.
“Man, you got to get numbed,” Whiteside said. “I would have been screaming.”
Heat rookie guard Andre Dawkins scored 12 three-pointers in a game on Saturday for D-League affiliate Sioux Falls Skyforce. He was 12 of 15 from three-point range and was recalled to the Heat after the game. He arrived in Miami on Sunday morning but did not play against the Celtics. Dawkins said his time with the Skyforce allowed him to work on his defense and rebounding.
“It’s a lot easier to do that getting into game situations and having to actually play people trying to go at you and score,” Dawkins said. “I think I got better each game. Obviously, my rebounding stats weren’t through the roof, but I feel like I was making a conscious effort to keep my man off the glass and try to get in there and get the ones I could get.”