I don't know about you, but I always get a little shocked when I see that Dwyane Wade is almost 31 years-old, and about to embark on his 10th NBA season. For some reason, I still think of him as one of the younger guys in the league.
But the fact is, at 31, he is closer to the end of his career than he is to the beginning of it. So every injury from now on has a tiny bit more concern than the last one. But luckily for the Miami Heat, Wade is progressing from surgery on his left knee very well.
He's ahead of schedule, and we want to keep him that way," Spoelstra said. "We're not trying to rush this or fast-track it. We want it to go at a healthy rate. Last week was very positive. He was able to go every single day and then play in both games. It was the most productive week he's had. Today, he didn't miss a turn in practice. He's getting his timing back. Those are good signs.
Wade's stretch against Indiana last season where he shot 18 for 58 while the Heat dropped into a 2-1 hole is something Miami would obviously like to avoid repeating. But that is what will happen if they push him along too hard, too quickly.
Wade relies on his athleticism and explosiveness to be effective. Forcing him into fade-away jumpers is a defender's primary goal. A recurring knee issue would be a defender's best friend.
It will take a little while for Wade to shake off the rust, since he says barely worked out over the summer as he recovered. The good news for Miami is that they can work him along slowly and not worry about the repercussions early in the season.
But with new addition Ray Allen also trying to cope with a recurring ankle issue, it is imperative that Wade get healthy and stay that way, or else the Heat will run a little too thin along side LeBron James. And while LeBron can carry a significant load, there is no need to heap any more on his massive shoulders if you don't have to.