Found June 29, 2012 on
Fox Sports Florida:
MIAMI -- Remember the old Dwyane Wade, the one who used to attack the rim with reckless abandon?
He just might be back at an arena near you.
The Miami Heat guard wasn't himself this year. He was bothered by foot and ankle troubles during the regular season and a knee problem during the playoffs.
Yes, the Heat still were good enough to still win the NBA title with Wade hurting. But perhaps they might not be good enough next season. So that's why Wade sacrificed going to the Olympics.
Wade could have not had surgery on his left knee. Or he could have had it after the Olympics, which probably would have resulted in not being fully healthy for training camp.
But just because Wade is 30, he doesn't want to act 30. He dropped out of the Olympics on Thursday in order have surgery July 9 on his knee because he wants to return to the player he once was.
"It's in his best interests," Heat president Pat Riley said of Wade's surgery, which is expected to have a rehabilitation period of about six weeks. "He and I had a conversation about that The guy's played with a style over the years that might not be conducive to longevity. He's always on the floor, always above the rim. We want to make sure that what has been ailing him is corrected this summer. He's committed at age 30, I like to say a young 30, that he can sort of reinvent what he can do."
This sounds scary for other teams. The Heat were able to win a title with a limping Wade, and now he could come back as good as new. Wade is expected to be at full strength when camp starts in late September.
Well, at least that's what the Heat hope. Riley has been around long enough to know there's no certainties when it comes to players who have hit 30 and have knee issues.
"You never know, but I'm confident that he'll come back next year and be healthy. But you can't guarantee anything," Riley said. "But he was able to play with a very high level throughout the playoffs. I think that (Wade will be fine) after two or three months of rest and rehab, not only on his knee but on other parts of his body because of that weakness there. There's collateral damage to other parts of his body. (Wade wants) to get himself aligned and healthy and that's what his goals will be."
Wade won an Olympic bronze medal in 2004 and a gold in 2008. If Wade hadn't have won that gold in 2008, he probably wouldn't have dropped out of the London Games. In fact, he had been thinking that would be his Olympic finale until his U.S. teammates in the past year convinced him to sign on for another run.
But Wade now will put his NBA team first. He knows the Heat have a great chance to win another title next season. He also knows that if he were to overdo it this summer and not get surgery, that really could affect his future.
"There isn't anybody who has played the game like him for nine years that hasn't had some issues, knee surgery, knee problems," Riley said. "He hasn't had any with the exception of a shoulder separation (that ended his 2006-07 season early) and he had his knee scoped (in 2008) I think he's going to be fine. I just think he needs to calm down, listen to the doctor and get on a rehab program."
Wade averaged 22.1 points during the regular season, his lowest average since his rookie season of 2003-04. In the playoffs, he put up 22.8, also the lowest since his rookie year. All of that was good enough for Wade to win his second title in seven years.
But Wade knows it might not be good enough next season. He'll be out to prove he really is a young 30-year-old.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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