With just 38 minutes left on the pregame clock, however, Mike Miller got the news:
Get ready. You're getting the start.
This was hardly the first time this season that Miller was put in the lineup just prior to game time, and based on Wade's recent injury history, it is unlikely to be the last. And while Miller is now 16-2 in his starts this season, that hasn't reduced the concern about Wade's health.
As Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra explained, "There wasn’t any improvement really from how he felt toward the end of the last game. But he is making progress. The big picture in the last few weeks and month is he’s been making big progress."
So can the Heat still win the big prize this postseason if Wade misses more time, or is limited in any way when he plays?
Last postseason, Wade pushed through left knee problems that led to offseason surgery. He struggled some, but played strong enough in key stretches, especially the last three games of the second round to close out the Indiana Pacers. At the end, he was winning his second championship.
Spoelstra has insisted that this injury isn't as significant as that one, because this knee is structurally sound. Wade vowed to play whenever the second round starts, against the Chicago Bulls or Brooklyn Nets.
But if this issue lingers, there are five reasons the Heat can survive.
(All quotes for this piece were collected through the author's coverage of the Miami Heat for the Palm Beach Post. All statistics were accurate as of Monday afternoon.)