The Miami Heat won’t be able to afford Dwyane Wade sitting out 28 games this season, like he did last season. The Heat figure to still be competing at the top of the Eastern Conference, and with Paul George now likely out for the season (respect), the conference is even more wide open.
Wade said Friday that he plans on playing more this season. He’s prepared by slimming down, taking advice from workout warrior Ray Allen. He says he’s lighter now than he was at the 2013 training camp.
From Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
He missed 28 games last season, with 13 attributed to “rest” for his knees. Asked if he expects to play in 75-plus games, Wade indicated that is the plan.
He hopes coming to camp lighter will reduce some of the load on his knees. While declining to divulge details, he said his weight is lower than at the start of training camp last season and he will continue to lose more. He’s doing it by following the Paleo diet that was used last summer by Ray Allen, who recommended it to Wade and James.
This seems doable. Singularly focused on the NBA Finals last season, the Heat probably rested Wade more than they needed to. Wade missed 28 games, but most of them were due to the team’s maintenance program.
Now with LeBron James gone, the team will rely on Wade to be their ace on the perimeter once again. But Wade doesn’t expect to suddenly revert to the way he was before James came to Miami, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Shandel Richardson.
“One thing I will tell them is I can’t go back five years,” Wade said. “I ain’t trying to go back five years. If we all could, we would, but that’s not likely … I really don’t know how it’s going to be. I’m used to something from the last four years, so until we get into training camp and the preseason games, you really don’t know how it’s going to be yet.”
Even if he doesn’t reach 75 games next season, Wade will surely miss fewer than 28 games barring any major injury. The Heat don’t really have a choice.