MILWAUKEE — Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade will receive a couple hours of treatment on his bruised right knee Friday at Marquette University, and there’s a possibility the nine-time All-Star could sit out Sunday’s Game 4 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Wade, 31, missed six games at the end of the regular season to heal three bone bruises around his right kneecap and is still hurting
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was asked Friday morning whether Wade’s knee had reached the point where Miami, up 3-0 in a first-round playoff series, would consider resting him for a game, but the coach wouldn’t tip his hand.
“I won’t even go that far,” Spoelstra said. “I’m just going as far as to see how he feels today, and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Wade struggled offensively in Thursday’s Game 3, shooting just 1 for 12 from the field with four points and six turnovers. Though he was clearly not 100 percent, Wade still had five steals, nine rebounds and 11 assists in 36 minutes.
“He’s been dealing with this for over a month,” Spoelstra said. “It’s getting better, but he plays a physical game. He was on the ground four or five times last night. One of those collisions when he was fouled in the first half, he got hit on the elbow, he got hit in the face, and he got hit on the knee all on one play. He’s fighting through it. Some days are better than others, depending on the collisions he has the night before.”
Though it’s only a matter of time before Miami closes out the Bucks, Wade’s knee injury is a cause for concern with a long path ahead to a second straight NBA title.
“I’m not where I want to be. I’m not even close,” Wade said after Game 3. “I’m still able to push through certain things.
“I shot the ball terrible. But we played a good game. I wasn’t feeling great tonight. I’m not worried about it. I’m not going to cry. I’ve got two days off. So, hopefully, it’ll be better for Game 4.”
Wade’s ability to fight through offensive struggles and still contribute to Miami’s success was indicative of how he can impact the game without having to score near his average, which has dropped from 21.2 in the regular season to 13.7 in the playoffs.
“The maturity of what he brought and the experience really showed last night,” Spoelstra said. “So he had a rough shooting night, but he still was so active defensively. The five steals, the deflections … (he) almost had a double-double with assists and rebounds. He understands it’s just about making winning plays.”
If Miami does decide to sit Wade on Sunday, the Bucks will approach the game the same way. Miami’s role players have hurt Milwaukee in the series, and the Bucks expect those guys to step up with or without Wade.
“They are going to play hard whether Wade is in or not,” Bucks center Larry Sanders said. “They are going to have some guys like Ray (Allen), other guys who can fill his place and step up. It’s going to be a battle regardless.”