MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade is planning on returning to the starting lineup this Friday after sitting out the last six games due to a knee injury.
According to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, Wade said his knee is healthy enough to play again and that he wants to play in both Friday’s game against Boston and Saturday’s game against Chicago as long as he doesn’t suffer any setbacks.
“I’m feeling good,” Wade said. “The toughest part is mentally more so than physically. I played two weeks with it and eventually I felt it getting a little worse and I said, ‘OK, I’ve got to shut it down.'”
The knee problem was eventually identified as three separate bone bruises that surrounded his kneecap. Wade said rest and treatment has taken care of the problem.
Wednesday night’s game against the Washington Wizards saw the Heat sit Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Udonis Haslem. LeBron has a sore hamstring that has kept him in and out of the lineup for ht last few games. Bosh has dealt with a sore knee and flu and cold symptoms.
The main reason the stars are sitting out is to make sure they are fully healthy when the playoffs start in a few weeks. It’s not just the Heat who are doing this as Boston is expected to sit Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett against the Heat on Friday.
The games through the rest of the regular season are meaningless for Miami other than to pad the total number of wins. The Heat have claimed the Southeast Division, Eastern Conference, Best Record In The NBA, and home court advantage through the NBA Finals.
Still, getting Wade some game action before the playoffs would be good for the Heat who have been on a tear since a February 1 loss, including winning 27 games in a row.
Wade is averaging 21.3 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game this season for Miami, shooting nearly 56 percent from the floor since the All-Star break in February.
“I was feeling great, playing well,” Wade said. “To have a setback with something like bruises, it was tough.”
Wade’s latest knee issue started March 6, when he took a hit in a game against the Orlando Magic. Another blow to the knee came on March 18 in Boston, resulting in another bruise. Wade said he isn’t sure how the third bruise happened.
Those hits came during what became Miami’s 27-game winning streak, the second-longest in NBA history that was snapped six games shy of the Heat matching the record 33-game run by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1971-72 season.
“I think that winning streak played a role in me playing a little too long,” Wade said.
Wade played March 27 against Chicago, twisting his ankle in that game, the one that snapped the 27-game streak. He started two nights later in New Orleans and logged 33 minutes, then hasn’t appeared since.
He expects his minutes to be somewhat limited on Friday as he works his way back, tuning up for the playoffs.
“I’m sure my lungs will need that,” he said.
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