LAUDERHILL, Fla. -- A couple hundred people were crowded
around Dwyane Wade on Monday, watching the standout Miami Heat
guard take a ceremonial 16-footer to officially open a refurbished
basketball court at a city park.
It'll be a while before Heat fans see him attempt another shot.
Although Wade said his rehabilitation from knee and shoulder
operations is going well, the 2006 NBA Finals MVP may not be ready
to play when Miami opens training camp in early October -- casting
some doubt whether the Heat's top scorer will be on the floor when
the regular season begins.
"I'm a fast healer, but my doctor really wants to make sure I'm
well and I'm healthy and we don't have to go through this process
again," Wade said at the court dedication, part of a program
sponsored by Staples and his Wade's World foundation. "He'd rather
for me not to rush back to get in training camp and maybe aggravate
something early in the season."
Wade had surgery on May 15, both on his left side. He said the
knee operation, which was to relieve tendinitis, typically is
followed by a three-month rehab program. But the shoulder procedure
-- necessary because he dislocated the joint in February, causing
him to miss 23 games -- usually requires six months before a patient
is fully healed.
The regular season opens in late October.
"I want to make sure I'm as healthy as possible and play the
most games I can play without going in and out of the lineup,"
Wade said. "I'd rather take it slow now and really hit it toward
Wade came back to the Heat late in the regular season, saying
the shoulder wasn't a big concern. Still, he was so hobbled by the
knee condition commonly called "jumper's knee" that the normally
high-flying guard could barely dunk for his first few days after
rejoining Miami's lineup. He limped noticeably at times.
Miami was swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the
Chicago Bulls, and Wade had surgery a couple of weeks later.
"It's a long process," said Wade, a three-time All-Star who
averaged a career-best 27.4 points last season. "It's not an
overnight thing. So I'm taking it a day at a time and I'm coming
along. ... It's tough to rehab the whole left side of your body at
one time, but I'm making it work."
Wade has been rehabbing for about two months, mostly in his
hometown of Chicago. His range of motion with the shoulder is
improving -- "you can see under my arm now," he said, raising the
limb a bit for emphasis -- and was able to take a couple shot
attempts without grimacing.
He, Shaquille O'Neal and Jason Williams combined to miss 94
games last season, a stat that clearly didn't help Miami's
championship defense. Wade said he'd ideally play in all 82
regular-season games next season, yet has made it clear that he
won't rush back just to be in uniform on opening night.
Wade was appearing in South Florida one day after Heat center
Alonzo Mourning announced he'll play one more season before
"You give us a healthy Shaq and a healthy D-Wade for a full
season," Mourning said, "and I like our chances."