Wade entered last night's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers already battling a stomach bug, so the last thing he needed was for a wet Quicken Loans Arena floor to surprise him with an impromptu game of Twister. But that's exactly what occurred in the second quarter of the Heat's 114-88 loss to the Cavs. Wade fell, some of him to the left, some of him to the right, clutching his left knee. He would eventually reassemble himself and limp to the locker room, but he did not return to the game.
"Story of the season," Wade said, referring to the Heat's Walking Dead season, "and it continues."
Wade's injury is just one in a long, depressing spate of carnage for the team this year. The list of reasons Heat players have missed time this season is beginning to resemble a script even the Final Destination writers would reject because of its absurdity.
When it was announced last night that Hassan Whiteside would return to the starting lineup for the first time since splitting his finger open on the basket, and that Wade would return from a one-game absence due to the stomach flu, it seemed as if the injury bug was finally leaving the Heat alone for a day. That lasted all of just a quarter.
Dwyane Wade slips and does a split during Cavs game https://t.co/ElhDWt8LSB— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 3, 2015
The injuries the Heat have dealt with this season make you almost wish for the off-season. Heat fans have to just hope no one sustained injuries serious enough to bleed into next year. Chris Bosh should be recovered from his battle with blood clots by September, soon enough to get back into shape by the end of October and the beginning of the regular season. The rest of the Heat's bumps and bruises can be healed with a few months off.
If the standings hold up in the East, the Heat will face the Cavs again in the playoffs in a little more than two weeks. At the very least, they will need a semihealthy Wade to have even a prayer of an upset. There was a glimmer of good news after the game: Wade's tests for ligament damage reportedly came back negative. If a falling air conditioner or a random bolt of lightning on a clear afternoon doesn't knock him out before the playoffs, he should be able to contribute.
Wade gives the Heat some hope in the playoffs. Last night's beatdown in Cleveland means the teams finished the season 2-2, but both Heat losses came in Cleveland, one without Wade and one with very little of Wade. He averaged more than 32 points in the two wins in Miami, looking as good as he has all season.
Of course, first things first: Before anyone starts looking at a potential Heat-Cavs matchup, Miami has to qualify for the playoffs first. Last night's loss drops the Heat into a tie with the Boston Celtics for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference. The Heat does, however, hold the tiebreakers over the Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets, having taken the regular-season series already from both teams.
The other good news for Heat fans: Today is Friday, and alcohol exists.