Wade has missed 19 games this season, mostly by design. Team officials wanted him to rest his sore knees so he could kick things into high gear for the playoffs. But Monday’s absence was not part of the plan. After the team initially said the All-Star guard hurt his ankle. The Heat are now calling it a strained left Achilles tendon.
Wade scored a season-high 32 points in Miami’s win over the Pacers on Dec. 18 and is averaging 19.3 points.
Wade practiced Tuesday and participated in Wednesday morning’s shootaround, then sat on the bleachers with ice wrapped around both of his problematic knees.
“It’s something I can play with. I took a few days off to rest it and I’m ready to go tonight,” Wade said.
“It will probably be by committee. Everybody’s ready to go, there’s no excuses and we have more than enough to get the job done,” Spoelstra said.
The only medical concerns for Indiana are backup center Andrew Bynum, who is out indefinitely with soreness and swelling in his right knee, and backup point guard C.J. Watson, who is out with a strained right hamstring.
All this only adds to the intrigue of one of the league’s most intense matchups - on and off the court.
The Pacers won the first meeting 90-84 in Indianapolis on Dec. 10. Eight days later, the Heat rallied late for a 97-94 home victory. The teams will meet one more time, April 11 at Miami, before attention turns to what many expect to be a rematch in the Eastern Conference finals.
At times, the Heat have been perturbed by Indiana’s bold talk about earning the No. 1 seed in the East, though All-Star forward Chris Bosh acknowledged Wednesday that he “missed” playing the Pacers.
“You want to keep your friends closer and your enemies closer,” he said. “We know what is for in the East and they know what it is for, and we both know that where we want to go, we have to play each other.”