HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — After almost two months away from the game, it’s time for Dwyane Wade to get back to work.
Speaking at his third annual fantasy basketball camp on Friday morning, the Miami Heat guard said he hasn’t done any basketball-related activities since the NBA Finals in an effort to rest and treat his troublesome knees. Wade plans to hit the court this weekend for the first time since undergoing OssaTron shock treatment to both knees last month to help with tendinitis.
The 31-year-old missed one game in the playoffs due to bone bruises in his knee and was limited to a career-low 15.9 points per game in the postseason.
Despite the treatment and long layoff, Wade expects to be ready for the season opener on Oct. 29, when the Heat host the Chicago Bulls. Wade went through his first workout on Thursday night ahead of Heat training camp, which is set to begin on Oct. 1.
“I won’t be ready for opening night when training camp starts,” Wade said. “But I’ll be ready for opening night when opening night gets here.”
Wade revealed to reporters on Thursday that he underwent the OssaTron shock treatment about one month ago, opting not to undergo major surgery. This marks the second time that Wade has undergone the OssaTron procedure; he missed the final 21 games of the 2008 season after having it done.
Wade also said he didn’t travel to Germany for a blood-spinning procedure that players such as Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant and Cleveland Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum have used to help their knee issues. When asked about whether he seriously considered the German route, Wade laughed. “Nah,” Wade said. “I wasn’t taking that flight. But you ask your doctors what they feel, and they didn’t feel I needed to go there.”
“I [told the fans], ‘Great, but if I get kneed in my knee again, is it going to stop that? Is it bone-bruise-proof?’” Wade elaborated on Friday. “It’s not a structural thing, so it’s really not what [blood-spinning] does. I think people have a little bit of a misconception about exactly what that treatment does and what my knee went through last season. I went through bone bruises.”
As Wade turns 32 this upcoming season, his recurring knee issues have taken on greater importance, especially with some Eastern Conference powers gearing up to take down the two-time champs. Former MVP Derrick Rose is expected to play for the Chicago Bulls this season; the Brooklyn Nets added Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett this offseason; the Indiana Pacers revamped their bench.
“The East obviously has gotten stronger,” Wade said. “Brooklyn has done something unprecedented — to put five All-Star players on the floor at one time. Not that many people have pulled it off, especially with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. When you think of them, you think of Boston. To be able to take them from there and bring them to their team and bring something to their team that they were missing, in the sense of winning and that toughness.”
Wade said that on paper this might be the most competition he’s ever faced in the Eastern Conference.
“This is going to be a tough year for us,” Wade said about the Heat’s pursuit of a three-peat. “We’re walking into uncharted waters. Right now, we’re the standard team because we’ve been the champions the last two years, so other teams are putting teams together to stop that.”
The Heat didn’t sit on their hands this offseason. They signed injury-riddled former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden this offseason to a veteran’s minimum contract, and Wade hopes Oden can contribute to the Heat’s quest to win a third championship in as many years.
“We’ve gotten a good caliber player the last few years now,” Wade said, referring to past offseason signees Ray Allen and Shane Battier. “Greg is at the point in his career that he wants to right the ship and get rid of that bug that has bitten him over his career. Pat Riley continues to do what he told us he would do when we signed our contracts. Every year he does the best he can to make sure we stay competitive and get better.”
As for his own game, Wade isn’t planning to change much. The San Antonio Spurs often left him alone on the perimeter in order to pack the paint against LeBron James. Wade said the unorthodox game plan won’t serve as a motivator to improve his jump shot or change his style in the offseason.
“I welcome it, it’s fine,” Wade said of the Spurs daring him to shoot. “Especially if I get a chance to shoot midrange shots. That’s what I’ve done my whole career, and I won’t stop doing it until I stop playing this game.”
Wade shot just 35.4 percent on midrange shots in the playoffs, according to NBA.com.
Wade’s fantasy basketball camp is for adults over 35 old who engage in on-court drills and sharpen their game alongside Wade and special guests Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, Indiana University men’s basketball coach Tom Crean and comedian Kevin Hart.
Wade doesn’t have a timetable for his return to 5-on-5 action, indicating that he will take it day by day.
“My motivation is just to come in and be prepared for what Coach asks me to do this season,” Wade said. “It could be more, but hopefully not less.”
This article was originally posted on ESPN.com