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Winderman: Expect more Heat “injuries” as they rest for playoffs

Apr 4, 2012, 11:39 AM EDT

In the ego-driven, pride-centric world of the NBA, you’re never going to hear an athlete say, “Man, I’m tired, I’m sitting this one out.”

So, apparently, he instead has a bruised knee.

Yet keep an eye on that left knee of Dwyane Wade, and don’t be surprised if it’s suddenly healed by the time the Heat host the Thunder on Wednesday night.

Oh, some teams will just come out and say it, especially a don’t-give-a-rat’s-butt coach like Gregg Popovich, who simply can list Tim Duncan as “DNP-old.”

But that’s the exception.

So as we continue to work through the Sunday game tape of Heat-Celtics trying to find the moment when Wade bruised that left knee, we also appreciate the Heat’s move to sit Wade on Tuesday night against the 76ers, a team the Heat now have beaten 11 consecutive times during the regular season (as well as 4-1 during the opening round of last season’s playoffs).

For all the barking Doug Collins did during that game about Erik Spoelstra standing on the court — at one point threatening to do the same so the teams could play six on six —  Spoelstra had the courtesy to not just come out and say his team knew it could beat the 76ers without Wade. Because it always does.

Based on the Heat’s absurd April, one that includes 16 games in 26 days, including an illogical run of four home games in five nights later in the month, expect a few more injuries to pop up among the regulars.

And good for them, if not the ticket-buying public.

Oh, Wade’s left knee most assuredly is sore, as is the right one, as is just about everything on a body that continually hurtles into the lane.

But the reality is the Heat close the schedule with consecutive road games, don’t arrive back in South Florida until the early hours of April 27 and could open the playoffs in the afternoon on April 28.

So “bruised left knee”? Fine.

“Dead legs”? Fine as well.

Or an organization with the bigger picture in mind, picking and choosing its spots through a closing minefield? Smart, very smart.

Wade’s knee may yet keep him out Wednesday against the Thunder. But we’re figuring that also would leave Wade with a bruised ego in the wake of the Heat’s recent blowout loss in Oklahoma City, and that’s something that almost assuredly should have him back on the court.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

  1. 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 4, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    And I thought the we were going into “tank mode” in order to get Anthony Davis. But winning last night sort of screwed that up.

  2. 28loose - Apr 4, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    He’s obviously a good reporter but Winderman’s strange paragraph use irritates me.

  3. rob0527 - Apr 4, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Don’t be surprised if more teams aren’t bitten by same bug. Crazy season so far, to many games in to short time. Teams going to do this as superstars get ready for playoffs.

  4. canehouse - Apr 4, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    in a compressed season like this one, it’s reasonable to expect some veterans to chill some nights. Some fans will be angry and disappointed… but ultimately being prime for the playoffs is paramount! Also some of the bench players will get much better minutes and will have seen more live fire before the bullets are more lethal in the playoffs.

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