Dwyane Wade never has played a full season in his 13-year career because of an injury history that has taken its toll on nearly every part of his body.
That trend is something the Miami Heat have come to expect, but the serious medical condition of Chris Bosh and the uncertainty that accompanies it has left them even more shorthanded.
The Heat hope to have Wade back in the lineup with the previously suspended Hassan Whiteside on Saturday night when they host a Washington Wizards team completing the NBA's only three-games-in-three-nights stretch of the season.
Wade has played through hip and shoulder soreness to average 18.7 points per game while shooting 45.8 percent from the field. He hasn't averaged fewer points since scoring 16.2 per contest in his 2003-04 rookie season and has never shot worse than the 46.5 percent mark he had that same year.
Now he's being bothered by soreness in the back of his left knee that kept him out of Friday's matchup with Atlanta. The Heat (30-24), who moved percentage points ahead of the Hawks for the Southeast Division lead with a 115-111 win, already were without Bosh because of another battle with blood clots that forced him to miss the final part of last season following the All-Star break.
Whiteside served a one-game suspension for throwing an elbow at San Antonio center Boban Marjanovic's head on Feb. 9, but he's expected to be back against the Wizards (25-28). Miami played with nine players after trading Chris Andersen and Jarnell Stokes in cost-cutting moves before Thursday's deadline.
Wade will have an MRI in the morning to determine if he'll be able to go.
''Obviously it's never a good time (to miss games), but if you say there's a bad time, this is a bad time,'' Wade said. "It's nothing I'm overly concerned about. I just want to make sure everything's good.''
The Heat snapped a two-game skid behind Luol Deng, who finished with season highs of 30 points and 11 rebounds. Josh McRoberts also set season highs with 19 points and 10 assists.
''We easily could have said we had guys out, we could have said we lost this game, that's the reason for it,'' Deng said. ''But we came out and played hard.''
Wade missed the last meeting as John Wall finished with 18 points and 10 assists in Washington's 106-87 victory Jan. 20, the Wizards' fifth victory over the Heat in the last six matchups.
Wall had 22 points in Friday's 98-86 win over Detroit to give the Wizards back-to-back victories following the All-Star break. Washington held the Pistons to 42.7 percent shooting after Utah shot 40.3 percent in Thursday's 103-89 win.
''We've been saying it half of the season - play defense," Wall said of the Wizards, who came in 24th in the league in scoring defense allowing an average of 105.1 points per game. "It's great to see that we're back to doing what we used to do.''
The NBA no longer is scheduling teams to play back-to-back-to-back, but Washington is in that unique situation because the Jazz game was rescheduled after the original meeting Jan. 23 was postponed because of a snow storm.
The Wizards are 3 1/2 games back of Charlotte and Chicago for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot and acquired Markieff Morris at the trade deadline to help their playoff push. Morris scored six points in 22 minutes in his debut.
After turmoil surrounded his tenure with Phoenix, Morris is happy to be reunited with former Suns teammates Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley.
''It's just guys that actually know me and not on the outside looking in,'' Morris said. ''Getting compliments from those guys means a lot.''