Heat guard Wade ends his season early due to persistent knee pain



By Tim Reynolds

MIAMI – Dwyane Wade’s season with the Miami Heat is over.

Coach Pat Riley announced Monday that Wade, the All-Star guard and 2006 NBA finals MVP, will sit out Miami’s final 21 games after battling left knee pain throughout the season.

“I thought it would eventually go away,” Wade said. “Some days it feels great, and some days it doesn’t. I just want to get to the point where it feels great.”

The move was expected, although the timing – with so much of the season still to play – was mildly surprising.

“I think it’s time,” Riley said.

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    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 Monday 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.

    “I’m just trying to stay positive right now,” Heat forward Shawn Marion said. “All you can do, really.”

    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 (such as swimming and bicycle work) for the first 30 days. After that, he may return to basketball-related activity.

    Riley, who consulted with team physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick about the treatment, said the Heat will have the OssaTron machine delivered “in the next day or two.”

    “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, and Heat guard Chris Quinn also used the machine in college.

    “It’s had a lot of great results,” Riley said.