Dwayne Wade Injury: Heat Must Rest Hobbling Superstar

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 02: Jason Kidd #5 of the New York Knicks guards Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden on November 2, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Dwayne Wade will be a game-time decision for Wednesday's tilt with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Heat guard is dealing with a sprained left foot that he suffered upon rolling his ankle in the third quarter of Monday night's game against the Rockets.

X-rays are still pending in order to determine the seriousness of the injury, but there's no reason for the Miami Heat to wait. They should shut Dwyane Wade down regardless.

The play seemed innocuous enough, and Wade was actually able to finish the game against Houston, but what, exactly, is the point of taking any chances here?

We've all heard platitudes about how the season is "a marathon, not a sprint," and even though their triteness sometimes annoys us, they remain to be true. For the Heat, perhaps, more than any other team.

In a bottom-heavy Eastern Conference, the Heat shouldn't risk the health of their superstars for regular season wins. The Knicks' legitimacy is still pending, but it isn't too far-fetched to call Miami a lock for home court advantage. Why risk aggravating an injury when you don't need to?

This isn't the NFL and it isn't College Football. One game does not a season make. The Heat's season will be judged on one thing and one thing only: whether or not they win a championship.

You win championships by making sure your stars are at their apex in June, not by risking the health of their extremities against the Clippers in November.

Dwyane Wade is a fiery competitor, one who has proven his willingness to play through injuries over the course of his career. If he's able to walk, he will want the chance to suit up––on national television, no less––against one of the early season's most impressive teams. He'll beg for an opportunity to go mano-a-mano with Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe and the Clippers' other preponderance of savvy perimeter players.

But listening to him would be myopic. The Heat need to indoctrinate their superstar with some prudence, and remind him that, if he's healthy enough to bring them to the Finals, every game will be on national television. You want the world to watch you go at 100 percent in June, not at 80 percent in November.

Wade's 34 minutes per game could easily be distributed, for one night, among Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole and maybe even Mike Miller. The situation would be untenable for the long-term, but not nearly as untenable as Wade's nagging foot injury would be.

Plus, LeBron James by himself is enough to give the Heat a chance on any given evening.