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Miami Heat Rumors: Will Wade's Injuries Force Him Out Of South Beach?

By Jason Van Hoven, Posted: 10/01/12 11:47AM EDT
Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade is expected to return to the lineup tonight when the Miami Heat face the Charlotte Bobcats.(Photo : Facebook)

The Miami Heat will get started on their quest to repeat as NBA champions on Oct. 30 against the New York Knicks, but All-Star guard Dwyane Wade may not be present that day to help out.

According to the Miami Herald, Saturday marked the start of Heat training camp and 11 1/2 weeks of Wade's rehabilitation from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in July, which is far longer than the four to six weeks he was initially projected to recover. Wade said to reporters on Friday that his goal was to be ready for the season opener, but given how long it's taken for him to heal, he could very well miss the rest of training camp, all preseason games and even the opener itself.

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This is the second preseason in a row that Wade has had nagging leg injuries -- plantar fasciitis in his left foot was the case last year -- and the second year in the last four that he has had surgery on his left knee. As a result, there are concerns in the organization about just how effective a 30-year-old Wade can be in the second half of his career.

"I understand that it's a process and I'm going to take that process and be ... I've been here before, guys, so I know what to do," said Wade on Friday. "I'll be all right."

The Herald reports that the team has started an "aggressive plan to preserve Wade's body for the long term," which could include reduced minutes, scheduled off days and a repurposed skill set. However, before that, the first priority will be to help Wade strengthen his legs and core and allowing his knee to heal fully via intense levels of conditioning and monitored minutes of scrimmage time.

All of that might benefit Wade this upcoming season, but there is no guarantee then and thereafter that Wade won't re-injure himself or experience a new injury. If that's the case given his injury history and age, then the Heat could possibly think about trading Wade or amnestying him. Wade is set to make just under $36 million in the next two seasons before an early termination option kicks in, so it would seem that each passing season from here on out will be critically evaluated in determining Wade's future in South Beach.

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