Dwyane Wade played his worst playoff game ever in Game 3. The Pacers exploited that to take what seemed, given Wade’s ugly shooting performance throughout the series, a commanding 2-1 series lead. So while it wasn’t altogether shocking to see him come out and utter dominate the Pacers in the third quarter of Game 4, it was somewhat surprising.
According to a new ESPN report, however, it seems that his better play may have been fueled by something other than pride alone. Wade reportedly had his balky left knee drained of fluid prior to Game 3.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade has consistently downplayed how sore his left knee had been in recent weeks and continued after Sunday’s game to say he wouldn’t use any injuries as an excuse for his performance. But multiple sources close to Wade and the team told ESPN.com Sunday night that he required the minor draining procedure on Wednesday before the team’s loss in Game 3.
After having fluid drained from his troublesome left knee last week, Wade had one of the worst playoff games of his career as Miami stumbled into a 2-1 series hole against the Indiana Pacers.
Apparently, all Wade needed were a few days of rest and treatment, a pep talk from his former college coach and another crack at Indiana to get his body and mind on track.
Pairing with league MVP LeBron James for a desperate and dominant two-man performance, Wade bounced back from his Game 3 struggles to finish with 30 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks in 41 minutes to help the Heat even the series and reclaim homecourt advantage from the Pacers.
Wade declined to comment on the procedure after Game 4 other than to say, “If I’m in uniform, [I'm] ready to play.”
ESPN Heat beat writer Michael Wallace, who filed the report, characterized the draining procedure as “minor” so this isn’t exactly a Willis Reed moment. He obviously didn’t miss any time. Basically, he was sorta banged up more than normal, he had a small procedure, he played like trash and then he got two nights of rest and played like a Hall of Famer.
What this means for Games 5, 6 and — the NBA hopes — 7, if anything and like everything, remains unknown.