Could Dwyane Wade's knees be a liability?

Could Dwyane Wade's knees be a liability?
August 16, 2013, 11:45 pm
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Mark Strotman

After going seven games with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals and seven more games to win the NBA championship over the San Antonio Spurs, Dwyane Wade had to time to celebrate in Miami with Drake, ride around buses during the team's title parade and soak in his third NBA title.

But since then it's been a painful offseason. It was revealed Thursday that Wade underwent Ossatron shock treatment on his knees in July to help with tendinitis that he's dealing with. ESPN.com reported earlier today that Wade will make his return to the court for the first time since the Finals this week. Wade told ESPN.com he had the same treatment done in 2008 before the Olympics.

 

Though Wade missed just one game in the postseason, he scored a career-low 15.9 points in the playoffs and was limping noticeably in the latter half of the series against the Pacers and Spurs. Wade said at his annual fantasy camp that he fully intends to be ready for the season opener on Oct. 29 against the Bulls.

[BUTLER: It's great to have our leader (Rose) back]

Entering his 10th NBA season, Wade has still managed to put up elite numbers but injury concerns are real. He barely made it through last year's playoffs, though he did manage to score 23 points on 11-of-21 shooting in Game 7 against the Spurs. Still. there are concerns about whether Wade can continue to play at an elite level while dealing with these nagging injuries. It will help that the Heat should have a playoff spot and a fourth straight division championship wrapped up relatively early, but with an improved Eastern Conference -- one that includes a healthy Derrick Rose, a revamped Nets team, a talented Pacers team one year older and more experienced and Carmelo Anthony's Knicks -- it won't be as easy for them to wrap up the top seed in the East, which they did a year ago. allowing them to rest Wade and James down the stretch.

[BULLS: Tracking Taj Gibson's offensive-rebounding prowess]

Meanwhile in Chicago, fellow Marquette alum Jimmy Butler is coming off a season in which he played in all 82 regular season games and averaged nearly 41 minutes in 12 postseason games. Though wins in the regular season over the two-time defending champs would potentially mean a Game 7 in Chicago at the United Center instead of South Beach, both teams expect to play deep into May and potentially June. That means Butler's durability may be on full display if the two should meet up in the postseason. Assuming Luol Deng is healthy to guard LeBron James, it could be the durable checking the fragile Wade. Whether that turns the tide in a potential series remains to be seen, but it's worth noting that Wade is again having a busy offseason on the operating table.