It took only 3 minutes into the Miami Heat’s first pre-season game for one of their Big Three to go down.
While only a pulled hamstring, Dwyane Wade’s history of injury problems as well as the Heat’s top-heavy roster should give Miami fans plenty to worry about.
An undersized shooting guard at 6’4 with an unguardable first-step, the biggest strength of Wade’s game is his ability to get into the paint and draw fouls, often exaggerating contact as he pratfalls to the ground.
As a result, he has been an injury risk his entire career. In seven seasons, he has yet to play all 82 games, and has missed more than 20 games three different times.
A team centered around LeBron and Chris Bosh will still win close to 60 games, but without Wade, the Heat aren’t quite the media-generated monster they have been portrayed to be.
In hindsight, NBA championships often seem pre-ordained – with the last 20-odd years a smooth transition from Bird and Magic to Jordan to Shaq and Kobe. But six times over the last decade, injuries have played a crucial role in determining the eventual NBA champion.
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