Wade said he felt his left hamstring tighten up early in the second quarter and initially attempted to play through the discomfort before he left with 5:43 remaining in the first half. It is the second time this season Wade has strained his left hamstring, with the previous injury sidelining him seven games in November.
"I knew instantly," Wade said of the injury after the game. "If you could see my expression, I was pissed. I could have played the [rest of the] game. But I decided to be smart about it, catch it early and not make it any worse. As my doctors told me afterwards, since we caught it early, we'll take it day by day."
Wade had four points, five assists and five rebounds in 15 minutes during a game the Heat opened with an 18-0 run. They held on for a 78-75 victory after Kobe Bryant missed a 3-pointer as time expired. With Sunday's blowout win against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Heat (17-21) have won consecutive games for the first time since late November and are 2-1 on their five-game road trip.
But Miami heads into Wednesday's game likely without its leading scorer against a Warriors team that boasts the league's best record and is 16-1 at home this season. The Heat classified Tuesday's injury as a mild strain, and Wade said it didn't feel as bad as the one he suffered two months ago.
However, Wade also strongly suggested he likely wouldn't play Wednesday because "our trainers won't let me do anything crazy" by trying to push through the injury.
Wade stopped short of declaring he would sit out the remainder of the trip, which ends Friday against the Sacramento Kings.
The Heat are 4-4 this season without Wade, who also missed a game with a bruised knee. The latest injury comes as Miami was just starting to build chemistry that had been lacking much of the season. Heat forward Chris Bosh said he hopes the team is mentally strong enough to avoid taking another huge step backward if Wade isn't available for a few games.
"You can never get used to it," Bosh said of the prospects of playing without Wade. "Of course the game plan is going to change significantly. But we're going to ask guys to step up. We're just going to have to worry about that [Wednesday]. I'm not predicting anything. I don't want to sit here and say we're mentally tough, and then we get smacked tomorrow. I just want to go in there and win the game."
On Tuesday, the Lakers outscored the Heat 43-34 in the second half as both teams struggled to generate much offense late in the game. Mario Chalmers, who averaged 20 points per game in his best stretch of the season during Wade's previous absence, took over Tuesday and had 19 points and eight assists.
The Heat also got another strong performance from the center position, where Chris Andersen and Hassan Whiteside combined for 27 points, 17 rebounds and eight blocks to offset a 4-for-17 shooting effort from Bosh.
Wade hopes his decision to exit early Tuesday might lead to a quicker recovery.
"I realized in this situation you never know what to expect," said Wade, who is averaging 22.8 points and 5.6 assists this season. "I came out, and it didn't feel as bad. But last time, it didn't feel as bad at first and I was out for two weeks."