Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 10/10/12
MIAMI For two seasons, Rashard Lewis did everything he could to ease the pain in his ailing knees. He visited doctors in three cities. He prayed he would wake up one day and would feel better. Yet nothing worked. By last year, Lewis scoring average had plummeted to 7.8, less than half his career mark. Many wondered if his NBA days were coming to an end. "It was very tough for me," Lewis said. "I tried my best. I did everything I could do." But listen to what hes now saying. "This will be my 15th season," said Lewis, who played the past 1 12 seasons with Washington before signing with Miami last summer as a free agent. My whole goal is to play another five years and try to get to 20 years. ... The way I feel now, I most definitely think I can do it." It sounds as if Lewis, 33, has gotten a miracle treatment on his knees. He wouldnt disagree. While courting Lewis during free agency, the Heat suggested the 6-foot-10 forward undergo a process called OssaTron. Miami guard Dwyane Wade had it on his left knee in March 2008, and by that summer won an Olympic gold medal while being Team USAs leading scorer. The process involves shock waves. Its a non-surgical treatment the Heat believed could get Lewis back to at least somewhat resembling a player who was an All-Star in 2005 and 2009. They just numb the knees basically like ultrasound, said Lewis, who had tendinitis in his right knee in 2010-11 and missed 27 games and then had left knee problems last season and missed 38 games. "It breaks down a lot of the scar tissue and it kind of rebuilds it. It took me off the court for a couple of months. (The Heat believed) it was something that could really help me and get me back on the court playing at a high rate, and I told them anything that would help me be even a little bit better than I was the past season, the past couple of years, Im willing to try." So Lewis was hooked up to a machine. Gel was put on his knees and the shock waves went to work. I was so sore for the first month or so, I was like, I hope to get to the point that this helps," Lewis said. "And over time it did. I took my time and it did help, and I feel good. Im happy." So are Lewis kids. For more than a year, Lewis said he couldnt pick up his daughter, Gianna, now 5, and son, Rashard Jr., now 2. He had to get down on the floor to play with him. But what did Lewis do recently? I picked up my 2-year-old and my 5-year-old," said Lewis, whose wife Giovanni had another daughter last spring in Grayson, now 5 months. And my wife carries around the baby." While Lewis is feeling much better, he is rusty. While going through his knee treatments, he didnt do any court work between mid-July and mid-September. With Lewis still getting his conditioning back, nobody was too alarmed when the longtime 3-point threat shot 0-of-5 from long range and 1-of-9 overall in an Oct. 3 Heat scrimmage. He did go 1-of-2 from 3 and 2-of-5 overall in last Sundays preseason opener at Atlanta. I just want him getting comfortable in our system," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, who next will evaluate Lewis in a preseason game Thursday in Beijing against the Los Angeles Clippers. I want him to be aggressive offensively and look for opportunities. ... Hes trying to fit. ... The rhythm will take time. I understand. Im not putting pressure on him." There really isnt any pressure on Lewis, a low-budget risk for the Heat. He was traded last June by the Wizards to New Orleans and his 23 million contract for this season was bought out for 14 million. He signed with Miami for the veterans minimum of 1.35 million. Lewis might have a 16.1 career scoring average and rank eighth in NBA history in 3-pointers made, but he knows his role will be much more limited with the Heat. I want to win a championship before I retire, and I think I have the best chance of doing that (with Miami)," Lewis said. As of right now, Im looking at my role is coming off the bench. There most definitely will be a lot of times when I dont get shots, and thats fine with me." But there will be times when the Heat hope Lewis can provide a few glimpses of what he did in the past decade with Seattle and Orlando. Lewis averaged as many as 20.6 points with the SuperSonics in 2006-07. His most memorable season was in 2008-09, when Lewis led the NBA in 3-pointers made and attempted, averaged 17.7 points and helped the Magic to an NBA Finals appearance. Heat forward LeBron James certainly remembers that season. James was then with Cleveland, which fell to the Magic in the Eastern Conference finals. Hes looking healthy," James said. Hes going to be great for our team, spreading the floor for our team. And hes also a guy who has won many playoff series and many playoff games." Not in the past two seasons, though. After being a traded by the Magic to the Wizards in December 2010, Lewis sat home in the postseason while toiling for one of the NBAs worst teams. In 60 overall games with Washington, an injury-riddled Lewis averaged just 9.7 points. He tried but just couldnt deliver. It was very frustrating not only for myself but Im sure for the fans in Washington and for the staff," said Lewis, who while with the Wizards visited doctors in Washington, New York and in his hometown of Houston. I was playing injured and I forced myself to get out there and play and help. ...I did all my rehabs, and I prayed on it. It seemed like nothing would work." Thanks to OssaTron, Lewis finally has found something he believes will. Its like night and day from how I felt the past two years," Lewis said. It brings a smile to my face. ...Im going to show that I got a little more basketball left in me." If he really can make it to 20 seasons, that would be a lot of basketball. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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