Friday, February 23rd, 2007 at 5:23 am  |  56 responses

Wade In The Water, Children

Will DWade take a lesson from Pat Riley and sit the rest of the year? He should.

by Lang Whitaker

Wednesday night was a great NBA night. All-Star had just gone down, and the NBA provided its teams with a rude return by scheduling a whole mess of back-to-backs. I was watching the games with acute interest, because the teams that came to play on Wednesday night were going to be the teams that were prepped and ready for the postseason, those teams that were able to focus and execute.

Anyway, Wednesday night I was laid out on the couch, simultaneously recovering from Vegas, preparing for the trip I’m on now and engrossed in League Pass, when I recalled that the Rockets and Heat were playing on ESPN. Shaq/Riley/Wade? Sure. So I flipped over and watched the second quarter, and watched as Dwyane Wade carried the Heat. The Rockets ran up a lead, but every time the Rockets appeared ready to blow it open, Wade would drive and get an and-one, or he’d nail a three or make a play on defense. Wade was single-handedly keeping the Heat in that game. Pat Riley was subbing guys in and out without much effect, and the Heat were so ineffective on the interior that Dikembe Mutombo was dominant.

(I need to do a whole post on the Rockets soon, too. What a weird team that is. Rafer Alston is playing huge minutes, T-Mac is doing his thing, and then there’s Battier and about 10 complementary guys that shuffle in and out. And they just execute the heck out of you with their offense. They’ve quietly coasted to 15 games over .500, without Yao and T-Mac for large portions of the season. This is officially my darkhorse playoff team.)

And then in the fourth quarter, Wade went down on a freaky play involving Shane Battier. It was initially hard to tell exactly what had happened — at first I thought he’d hurt his forearm — but after seeing a few replays it was evident that his shoulder was screwed up. How badly? Couldn’t tell, although the sight of Wade leaving the floor on a wheelchair intimated that it probably wasn’t good.

Today word dropped that Wade’s injury could require season-ending surgery, which would essentially be season-ending surgery for the entire Heat franchise. Sure, the Heat could probably get Shaq going and make the Playoffs (they’re the eighth seed as of today) but there’s no way they’ll be able to get out of the Eastern Conference without DWade.

There’s also a chance that Wade could rehab for six weeks and then return, which would bring him back just in time for the Playoffs. Wade’s still young enough that this probably won’t have long-term repercussions on his career, and you know very well that Riles is praying he can talk Wade into the rehab option. But again, there’s no guarantee they’ll make another title run even with Wade.

The Heat have been forced to ride Wade hard all season, and the way he’s played, particularly the last few weeks, has been admirable. But here’s hoping that in treating this injury, Wade does whatever is best for him. I know, you’re thinking that players should give their all for the team, should play hurt for the team. Well, we’ve already seen Riley take a break halfway through; will Wade follow Riles’ leadership and pack it in? The clock may be ticking for the aging Miami Heat, but DWade has a long time left to wow us. Let’s hope he doesn’t exchange any long-term security for a short-term chance to play in the Playoffs this year.

We’ve seen him fall down. Let’s hope this is yet another one he gets back up from.

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  • wanmansou

    Wouldn’t it be something if Wade chose the rehab option and the Heat ended up in the finals only to realize that they are going to face the Rockets, again? With the injuries to Shaq and Wade in the regular season games this season the Heat (and Riley) must have some ominous feelings about playing against the Rockets.

  • Boing Dynasty

    Atleast it wasnt his knees…

  • peteb80

    Wade nailing a three?

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    OK, a long jumper.

  • Tariq

    I agree, Lang. And where are you going now? Old Trafford? San Siro? On a safari with Alfredo di Stefano, Romario and Gazza?

  • Vitor

    Tariq, Romario is still here in Brazil. It’s Carnival week after all, so don’t expect to see him any time soon. Although that would be one hell of a safari trip

  • Cheryl

    Lang, I am totally with you. This particular injury is really never the same even with surgery. If Wade chooses rehab, he will only come back with less than the ability to play with his typical agression. And you know his opponents are going to go after that left shoulder. It’s the nature of competition. Also, his teammates are going to relax somewhat, thinking they have their go-to-guy back and healthy, and Wade will naturally try to carry the team. Without a fully healthy Wade, the 1st round is the most the Heat can hope for. I think the kid should have the surgery now, focus on getting his shoulder fully healed (as healed as it can be, remember, it will never be the same. At least it’s the left shoulder and he’s right handed) enjoy the birth of his kid this summer, and comeback hungry and angry next season. As for the team, they should get the young guy Wright as many minutes as possible and let kid grow and gain some confidence, cuz he’s got skills. Wright and Wade could be quite formidable next year. An ancilliary result of this could be for Riley to prove he’s not just a fair weather coach. Phil Jackson has at least shut up some criticism in this regard. Riley should prove his worth here too.

  • Boing Dynasty

    Good call on getting Dorell more tick, he reminds me of the non-homophobic(less-homophobic?) Haraway.

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    Riley quit on the Knicks when they regressed from Finals team to 2nd round team. He always quits. He should have retired going out on top. It sucks for Wade, but this is some sweet justice for oily Pat. Shut it down Dwyane! You’re a young man with over a decade more of NBA ball at the highest level in your future.

  • http://www.halftimeonline.com Johnny Mann

    Word learn from Grant Hill he tried to play that year in the playoffs with an injury which subsequently ruined his career.

  • Cheryl

    Sam, so who do you think should coach the Heat?

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    Bring back Stan! No, Riley should have to coach them now. I also wonder how hard Shaq is going to play the rest of the season. He looked like he was ready to start trying again.

  • Boing Dynasty

    SLAMonline, were negro spirituals and shoulder injureys collide…

  • Mike

    It’s true that players should, and usually do, play hurt, but nobody should ever play injured. Playing with an injury can and does ruin careers as Johnny Mann’s Grant Hill reference proves.
    I think Pat the Rat should stand in and coach this team into the lottery.
    But with the luck the rest of the East is having, Miami will luck into the top pick and put Shaq, Wade and Oden/Durant on the floor together and destroy the entire league next year.

  • Troy Dallas

    Wade taking the season-ending surgery will be yet another reason for Riley to take a “leave of absence”. I hope he doesn’t try to play through this and just focus on getting back to 100%. We all saw what happened to Amare when he tried to come back last year, and dare I mention Grant Hill…His athletic trainer on the pistons should be dropkicked

  • dez

    The East just got even worse. This opens up the door for any team that doesn’t play Detroit in the playoffs

  • http://www.ihtraptors.blogspot.com coach

    NEWS FLASH : pat riley just dislocated his brain thinking of life as a coach w/out d wade .

  • Tommy Patron

    This guy was CRYING! Also, has anyone ever seen anyone leave the floor in a wheelchair with an upper body injury? DWade is way too into himself and his hot five. I’ve been on the court a couple of different times when guys have dislocated their shoulder, requiring surgery, and nobody was like that. Mr. Histrionics.

  • Matt

    He’s a banger like Iverson, it was only a matter of time.. I hope that, like Iverson, he can take it and still come back strong. Damn! He should sit out..

  • http://myk31.com Myk

    LOL, Tommy, try dislocating your own shoulder first and then talk smack about histrionics.
    “‘I’ve been on the court and seen people dislocate shoulders/break legs/twist ankles inside out and they weren’t like that” is a BS argument.
    No two bodies are the same, no two injuries of the same kind are the same.

  • Reggie Evans

    I once had five root canals with no painkillers!

  • IrvBx

    you know once you dislocate your shoulder one time there is a more likelihood it will happen again and again and again

  • rob stewart

    Boing Dynasty said the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while.

  • Galo

    IrvBx, very true. A dude on my team cant keep his shoulder tight for more than 3 games.

    shoulders and knees are every athletes nightmare. and kidneys too (i couldnt resist).

  • mdshuai

    It also has a great way of leading to further injuries. I messed up both of my shoulders – one from off-road motorcycles, the other from, uh, well, okay it was ultimate frisbee. Give me a break, I was 16 and camping. What else was I going to do? Anyway, the point is this: due to the previous injuries I have developed impingement in my left shoulder, which I can now pop in and out of joint if I move my arm just right. And my right shoulder pops every time I fold my arms. With that in mind, I say, sit it out Dwayne.

  • Noyd

    Good point Lang, Wade’s gotta do what’s in his best interest. Don’t think for a minute either that the Heat could be contemplating tanking the season(although with Shaq, he would never advocate that) and getting a chance at a high pick.

    Karma’s something else, huh Riles?

  • Zee

    I had just traded Wade the afternoon before this game for T-Mac and Deron Williams. ugh. I hope Wade sits out and comes back next year, then he can shut M. Cuban’s plaque covered grill with they mash out Dallas. Btw, check your profile on wikipedia. Comedy.

  • http://www.kb24.com Kobe Bryant

    Dwyane Wade is a cry baby.

  • sj

    Heat are done.

  • John D.

    From NT:

    BREAKING NEWS… the doctors can’t examine Wade because every time they touch him, they get called for a foul… 17 doctors have already been fouled out and sent home for the night… STAY TUNED!

  • William

    Counting the days until Pat Riley (temporary) retirement notice is served.

  • Harlem_World

    I think all this is premature. Until we know more about his SPECIFIC injury, all of this is blowing it out of proportion. You can’t say he won’t come back 100%. I’ve had team mates have dislocated shoulders and come back 100% after proper rehab, and then again other guys I’ve run with who have the same injury and it becomes a recurring problem. The key difference was pretty much the level of athlete between the differing results. Wade is a stud, so as long as he rehabs correctly (which the Heat will ensure he does), I think he’ll be back in time for the playoffs and be fine.

  • jay

    well put! i am all for wade to come back and play but he is what 25..i would hate to see him in and out of the lineup the next couple of years because he decided to rush back to take a chance at a back to back and he jeapardizes his career!!!

  • Drolfe

    He has to wait it out and come back strong next year. Shaq will still be more or less the same player next year. Riley will still be the same snake in coach’s clothing next year (unless he slithers away into the night again). Wait it out. And besides, look at their roster of past their prime players… and remember they won the f*cking thing last year!! If this season is indeed the last roll of the dice, they’ve still got that. It’s hard to feel sorry for them.

  • T Cee

    Boing Dynasty says:
    SLAMonline, were negro spirituals and shoulder injureys collide…

    You should learn to aim your darts with more accuracy AND do something about your lack of spelling skills.

  • T Cee

    rob stewart says:
    Boing Dynasty said the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while.

    Actually, he didn’t say it and you didn’t hear it.

  • Julian

    id like to see him come back, but he should probably sit out until next season. my girlfriend was the star softball player of my high school and in our senior year she dislocated it in a freak accident during a game, ending her season. she wouldve been a huge college prospect but now she’s probably never going to play organized softball again. her shoulder still pops in and out and she can barely do a pushup. it doesnt impede her everyday life really, but athletically she’ll probably never be as fluid as she once was. wade is probably going to get top-flight therapy and intensive care and all that, so he probably wont be the same. still, its a serious injury and not something you can easily dismiss. i’m afraid the heat are going to have to throw in the towel until the next season…sucks for GP and mourning, this season could be their last.

  • Julian

    damn Zee…thats the saddest fantasy story i’ve EVER heard. t-mac and deron williams for wade right before his season ended. thats giving up a lot too…your trade partner probably thinks hes dreaming. either that or he’s a prophet.

  • NiCK

    i still don’t understand why wade wants to be in barkeley’s five…dude wade is a 4th year player and got more rings them him! outrageous..

  • lEx

    converse are to blame……… nobody gets up more times than they are down.Now we are even.

  • dj

    ive been thinking about this for the last few days, and i’m shocked it hasnt been brought up once anywhere on tv or the internet. this is a BLESSING in disguise. think about it. Even WITH wade adn shaq their aging vetern cast could probably give them one more year of contention. Then what? rebuilding? As wade hits his prime? yea right.

    remember back in 97 when D-Rob went down adn the spurs stunk up the joint, going from playoff contender to the lottery, where they landed a fellow named Tim Duncan. WOrked out pretty damn well, eh?

    I swear right now Riley is probably thinking of the exact same thing. Why not just shut shaq down, shut wade down, tank the season, and make a run at oden (or durant, too). All of a sudden, Shaq can ride off into the sunset and the heat are set for another 15 yrs with wade/oden(durant).

    I CANT BELIEVE NO ONE HAS MENTIONED THIS. screw trying ot get into the playoffs. I dont understand why everyone is so hot and bothered about the heat being done. THIS IS THE BEST THING THAT THEY COULD HAVE HOPED FOR!!!!!

  • The Fundament

    It’ll be interesting to see which way Pat Riley pushes Wade – it could end up determining how DWade evaluates his future in Miami. I remember when Timmy D busted his knee as the Spurs were also trying to defend their first championship and the Spurs let Timmy know that he could take his time with his rehabilitation even though it ended up costing them any chance of defending. In the end though, it seemed like that gesture by the Spurs helped influence Timmy to resign with them instead of bolting to Orlando.

  • Dave

    how many teams can begin tanking right about now?
    - Heat
    - Grizzilies
    - 76ers
    - Bucks (never hurts to have another center, besides Bogut is starting to look more and more like a bust)

    heck, every other team in the East can tank, even the Pistons. why have Webber as a center when you can get Oden?

  • http://www.myspace.com/russellkeewatin Chief

    Yeah Wade should wonder wither he want’s to defend a a title all by himself or have a good run. Let’s nope it doesn’t go down like it did on GHill.
    by the Way Ghill would have been better than MJ if the injury had never happened. Play with that DP!

  • Danny

    Wade should do what’s best for him. Before he decides, he should give Grant Hill a call. Coming back for the playoffs while at Detroit cost him his career.
    Wade is the player I appreciate the most since a certain No. 23 retired (in ’98) so please DWade, take the safer course. The fans need you, the NBA needs you and basketball needs you.

  • The Big Cheese

    It was really just a matter of time. Wade’s been falling all over the floor this season. It’s as if he’s still filming takes for that Converse commercial he did last year about getting up every time you’re knocked down. I’ve seen him fall on at least a half-dozen three point attempts with no one guarding him. The closest defender could be siting up in the nosebleed and Wade would still hit the deck, strategically sliding his body into the nearest referee’s shins for added effect.
    Don’t get me wrong, I love DWade like a prodgial son. I called him making the All-American first team as a junior after seeing him play one game as an unknown sophmore at Marquette. He was too athletic not to break out at some point. His success in the NBA has surpassed even my expectations, but now all this flopping is driving me crazy!

  • http://deleted Boyd

    Tear inducing. Truly tear inducing. Forget the Grant Hill comparisons, however apt, at least he had 6 or 7 great seasons. Think Penny Hardaway, who had 4, maximum. That guy could have been Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson esque. D-wade was already almost Big-O, Magic good. James Naismith, wherever you are, don’t let this happen again.

  • Noyd

    Dj, I believe I mentioned the tanking thing in my post above…But hey, I’m not big uppin myself…

  • Tommy Patron

    Hey, Myk, I’m glad you straightened me out, but fact still remains that no one has EVER been taken from the court in a wheelchair with an upper body injury. If you send me your address, I’ll send you some Kleenex so you can dab Wade’s tears for him. Pussies.

  • JpT

    i still can’t believe that Riles didn’t trade anyone in their roster. what’s up with that.

  • dj

    my bad noyd, didnt see it.

    good point about shaq too. he can feel his career slipping away and wouldnt tank just so they could get oden, even if it would be the best thing for dwade.

  • dma

    the worst thing about the whole wade injury

    he didn’t get called for the obvious foul when he tried to rip off shane battier’s arm.

  • Dan

    Lang, you hinted at something important, but you didn’t quite say it: Wade should realize that the Heat aren’t going to go deep this year, so he should do the smart thing and take the surgery-route. They have fizzled this year, in a big way, and Wade should just get his shoulder fixed properly so that he is fit for action next fall. . .

  • http://www.myspace.com/linkstigatorkevin Kevin Wilson

    DWade should shut it down, and the Heat should do everything in its power to make sure he does. You risk his career by rushing him back for a quick playoff exit (well-rested Pistons team against an old Heat team that had to expend most of its energy just to get the No. 8 seed).

    If that happens, then you’re worrying about either paying a max deal for an injury-prone Wade … or Wade gets upset at the team rushing him back to the court, and he demands a sign-and-trade.

  • Dan

    Wilson, I need to give you credit. . . You do have quite the wild imagination my friend. You must be an only child or something. A sign-and-trade?!?!?!

  • bolle

    John D. says:
    From NT: BREAKING NEWS… the doctors can’t examine Wade because every time they touch him, they get called for a foul… 17 doctors have already been fouled out and sent home for the night… STAY TUNED!

    that has got to be the funniest sh*t in this whole thread.