Thanks to his balky left knee, there exists the distinct possibility that at age 26, only five seasons in, Wade’s career story is being revised from surefire Hall of Fame to supernova — a star who exploded into our consciousness, then faded away.
Word from the Miami Heat Monday was that Wade's left knee, the one that was surgically repaired last May, is still suffering from patellar tendinitis and will this time be treated with a device called an OssaTron, which delivers shock stimulation to reduce pain.
An air of desperation hangs over hauling out the device. According to the web site of Alpharetta, Ga.-based Sanuwave, its OssaTron is FDA approved for treating plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow — but not Wade’s injury. A study that appeared last year in the American Journal of Sports Medicine did conclude the OssaTron had better results than more “conservative” treatments, though it was no surefire cure. But in an illustration of why it might be Wade's last hope, and why surgery (which repairs tears or removes scarring) didn't do the trick, the study concluded that "the results of conservative treatment are inconsistent, and pain frequently recurs."
Wade hopes to be back for the U.S. Olympic team this summer, but who knows? And who knows whether he can stay in one piece?
Wade’s hard-charging, no-fear, get-knocked-down-seven-times-get-up-eight (per his shoe commercial) style is fun to watch and is responsible for his 2006 Finals MVP trophy, won during the Heat’s championship run that now, with the team 11-50 and Shaquille O’Neal no longer in town, feels like 100 years ago. It’s admirable he rehabbed a dislocated left shoulder and his left knee to come back for the Heat last season, and played through pain so bad there were days it was hard work just to get out of bed.
In some quarters, given Wade’s fearless style, injury has long been a worry, and one of those quarters is his mother. True story: during Wade’s rookie season, his mother told my wife — chatting in a mailing center as Jolinda Wade shipped off numerous trophies from suburban Chicago to Miami — that during the Heat’s second-round series, she was afraid “those Pacers are going to beat up my baby.”
It’s not just Indiana, but every NBA team beating up Jolinda Wade’s boy. That has forced him to miss 92 games due to injury in five seasons, including 31 this season (by the time it’s over) and another 31 in 2006-07. The hard part about being a 6-foot-4, 200-pound slasher is that you tend to get slashed. He’s suffered wrist, knee, shoulder, rib and ankle injuries. He missed three games this season with “general soreness.”
Even though he averaged his usual 39 minutes per game this season, the injuries have taken a toll on Wade’s game. He’s driving less and shooting more jumpers. Wade, no 3-point marksman, has shot about 80 shots from beyond the arc each of the last two seasons — a career high, even though he’s played only 51 games each season. Wade was shooting 9.2 free throws per game in 2007-08, down 1.5 free throws from 2005-06 and 2006-07, and the lowest since his rookie year.
The biggest problem for Wade’s ability to leap and drive with patellar tendinitis is contained in the injury’s colloquial name — “jumper’s knee.” If you can’t jump, finishing your drive becomes a lot harder. Actually, everything in the NBA becomes a lot harder, especially if you’re 6-4. O’Neal has suffered knee tendinitis, but at 7 feet and 300-some-odd pounds, jumping isn’t so much of an issue.
PBT: LeBron James took over the 4th quarter, Ray Allen hit a huge three to force OT and the Heat survived to force a Game 7.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
Spurs fall in Game 6
The Spurs didn't have enough to hold the Heat in Game 6. The Spurs were outscored by Miami 38-25 in the 4th Quarter and OT.
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