Heat shutting ailing Wade down for season


Dwyane Wade's season with the Miami Heat is over.

Heat coach Pat Riley announced today that Wade, the All-Star guard and 2006 NBA finals MVP who has battled left knee pain throughout the season, will not play in Miami's final 21 games this year.

The move was expected, although its timing &

with so much of the season still to play &

was mildly surprising. But Wade missed Miami's game against the Golden State Warriors on Friday because of knee stiffness, telling Riley at the time that it pained him just to get out of bed.

The next day, Wade looked strong playing in Atlanta. But with all hope of the playoffs gone, the Heat &

the NBA's worst team at 11-50 &

and Wade decided today that the time was right to give the franchise's best player additional time to heal and rest.

As recently as last Thursday, Wade said that even though the knee is sore, he wanted to continue playing.

"I don't want to cut my minutes back," Wade said, when asked why he still wanted to play this season. "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. And whenever that day is, if it comes, I'll just start preparing for the summer and rehabbing. But the day is not today."

The day came four days later.

So now, Wade will turn to therapy in hopes of getting his knee back to top form.

Later this week, he'll undergo OssaTron treatment &

a high-tech, high-powered form of shock wave therapy. The non-surgical procedure lasts about 30 minutes, and afterward, Wade will be limited to passive exercise for the first 30 days. After that, he may return to basketball-related activity.

"The knee will be hit with shock waves, electrical shock waves," Riley said. "It's actually a pretty painful procedure."

OssaTron has been used to treat injuries such as plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow when other more conventional treatments fail to bring as much relief as a patient would like. Heat center Alonzo Mourning has undergone the same procedure in the past to alleviate tendinitis, Riley said.

Wade, who had surgery on his left knee and left shoulder last May, will have a long summer.

He still intends to be part of USA Basketball's team that will compete in the Beijing Olympics in August, and the Heat will open training camp about four weeks after the games. So getting him time to rest and further rehabilitate the knee now, in Miami's eyes, seems paramount.

Wade finishes the season averaging 24.6 points, fifth-best in the NBA.

He becomes the third Heat player who's out for the season because of injuries, adding to a litany of roster woes in Miami. Mourning and forward Dorell Wright both suffered knee injuries and will not play the rest of the year, and guard Smush Parker will remain on the team's inactive list because of a legal matter.

A number of other Heat players are also nicked up right now, including forward Udonis Haslem (ankle), guard Marcus Banks (hamstring) and center Earl Barron (knee).

Riley has said that he's considering signing a player or two to a 10-day contract, but that would require a roster move, since the Heat has 15 players already in the fold.

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