Photo via zimbio.com
There was some debate about whether Dwyane Wade would even play in Game 5 of the Miami Heat's second-round series against the Chicago Bulls. After re-aggravating his troublesome right knee during the team's victory in Game 4, Wade mentioned to reporters that he had been moving his kneecap around to keep it from bumping into his bruised bone. Any way you interpret that comment, it doesn't sound good.
But Wade, as he's done his whole career, fought through the injury in Game 5, taping the knee in place and scoring on an array of his patented step-back and fallaway jumpers. There was some concern when, as the third quarter was winding down, Wade disappeared into the locker room. Had his knee quit on him? Was he done for the game? No, Wade just needed to make a brief pit stop to gear up for the fourth quarter, re-taping the knee before heading back onto the court at American Airlines Arena. He hit all three of his shots, snared three more rebounds and blocked a shot for good measure, as the Heat finally put the pesky Bulls away. Wade ended with 18 points, but none were bigger than the six he dropped in the final quarter when the Heat needed a serious spark.
Wade is older now. His knee will almost certainly continue to bother him for the duration of these playoffs, and he'll have to keep shifting his kneecap back and forth to avoid further discomfort. But when he's needed most, Wade, the face of the Miami Heat for the past decade, always steps up. Pain is easier to deal with when a championship ring is in sight. Wade will rest, wait for the Indiana Pacers-New York Knicks series to come to an end, and then get right back on the court, giving his all when his team needs him most.