MIAMI (AP) -For a month, the Miami Heat wondered when the time would come to shut an ailing Dwyane Wade down for the season.
His body spoke up over the weekend.
In the third quarter of Miami's game at Atlanta on Saturday, Wade approached coach Pat Riley and asked to play shorter stints to relieve pressure on his aching left knee.
On Monday, Riley and the team saw no reason to further postpone the inevitable.
``It's time,'' Riley said.
Wade will miss the remainder of the season so he can further rehabilitate his surgically repaired left knee, which has bothered him for months. He will undergo a powerful shock-wave treatment later this week, and hopes he will be pain-free by next season.
``I'm doing what's right,'' Wade said. ``I would love to be out there with my teammates, but in the long run, I think my teammates would love for me to be healthy and be out there with them when we're fighting to get in the playoffs again.''
There's no chance of that this year - Miami dropped to an NBA-worst 11-51 on Monday, falling to the Los Angeles Clippers, 99-98. So, with all hope of saving this dismal season gone, Riley knew it's time to shut down his All-Star guard.
``It's a lost season,'' Riley said. ``We know that. We don't want it to be a lost career.''
Wade finished the season averaging 24.6 points, fifth-best in the NBA.
He will miss Miami's final 21 games, and essentially get about 3 1/2 months off before the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team reconvenes to resume training for this summer's Beijing Games. Riley clearly has some concerns about seeing his franchise's best player expose himself to potential injury, but indicated he won't bar Wade from playing for his country, either.
``He wants to be an Olympic champion,'' Riley said.
Wade still wants to be part of that, yet acknowledged that playing in China isn't his primary goal right now.
``I'm still committed to the Olympic team,'' Wade said. ``But right now, my focus is on getting healthy.''
That's been his focus for some time.
Injuries have been a constant throughout Wade's five NBA seasons, especially since the Heat won the title in 2006. He dislocated his left shoulder last February, returned for the final few games of the regular season, but was so hobbled by knee pain that the high-flyer could barely dunk.
Surgery on both joints followed on May 15, and doctors told Wade it would take a year for the knee to feel normal again. He hasn't been at full strength since.
``It's time to just move on and get him the rest he needs,'' Riley said.
Wade will undergo OssaTron treatment - a high-powered form of shock wave therapy. The non-surgical procedure lasts about 30 minutes, and afterward, Wade will be limited to passive exercise such as swimming and bicycle work for 30 days. After that, he may return to basketball-related activity.
``The knee will be hit with shock waves, electrical shock waves,'' Riley said. ``It's actually a pretty painful procedure.''
Chris Quinn agreed with that assessment. The Heat guard had OssaTron treatment after last season on the bottom of both feet to relieve heel and arch pain.
``It felt like if you were to stick your finger in a socket and get shocked,'' Quinn said.
OssaTron has been used to treat injuries such as plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow when other more conventional treatments fail to bring as much relief as a patient would like. Heat center Alonzo Mourning has undergone the same procedure in the past to alleviate tendinitis, Riley said.
Wade becomes the third Heat player out for the season because of injuries, adding to a litany of roster woes in Miami. Mourning and forward Dorell Wright both had season-ending knee surgeries, and several other players are nicked up, including forward Udonis Haslem (ankle), guard Marcus Banks (hamstring) and center Earl Barron (knee).
Riley had eight players - the NBA minimum - at his disposal Monday night.
``It's like one thing after another,'' Heat forward Shawn Marion said.
A roster spot became open Monday when Miami waived guard Smush Parker, who was inactive most of the season because of a legal matter. Riley is open to signing someone to a 10-day contract, and one possibility could be guard Brian Chase, who was with Miami in training camp last fall.
Next year's training camp will be the next time the Heat see Wade in their uniform.
``I can still go out there and play,'' Wade said. ``But I can't be as good, or as whatever I am, as I want to be.''
Sports Insights' Advanced Betting Tools - NFL Free 14-Day Trial

NBA Team Pages

Recent NBA Discussions

Sports Insights' Advanced Betting Tools - NFL Free 14-Day Trial