The Miami Heat are quickly discovering just how perilous the road back to the NBA Finals can be and often is.
That lesson certainly hasn't been lost on Dwyane Wade.
According to ESPN, the star guard will be out indefinitely on account of three separate injuries—a strained calf, a bruised foot and now a bum ankle. Wade turned his ankle during the fourth quarter of Miami's 117-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday.
This, on the heels of a three-game losing streak during a West Coast road trip. A rough stretch for the preseason favorites, to say the least.
The All-Star's absence isn't exactly an early-season death knell for the Heat though; they won three games earlier this month while Wade dealt with a persistent foot injury and still have two superstars—LeBron James and Chris Bosh—who are more than capable of stepping up in Wade's absence.
In fact, over the last two seasons, James has seen his scoring improve from 25.2 points to 35.0 points, and Bosh his from 19.8 to 24.8, without Wade.
That being said, pressing on without Wade is hardly an ideal situation for the Heat at this or any point in the season. Miami is already thin at guard, with rookie Norris Cole and veteran sharpshooter Mike Miller serving as Wade's primary backups, and will need all the healthy bodies it can muster amidst a taxing 66-game schedule.
What's more, Wade is the Heat's primary crunch-time scorer, the one guy ready, willing and able to take (and hit) big shots in late-game situations.
Even so, the Heat need not concern themselves too much with regular-season excellence. So long as D-Wade is fit in time for the playoffs, they should be in prime position to win the Eastern Conference and compete for the Larry O'Brien Trophy.