MIAMI — Dwyane Wade needs time to heal, and the Miami Heat saw no reason to further postpone the inevitable.
Wade will miss the remainder of the season so he can further rehabilitate his surgically repaired left knee, which has bothered him for about a year. He will undergo a powerful shock-wave treatment later this week, and hopes he will be pain free in time for next season.
"I'm doing what's right," Wade said Monday night. "I would love to be out there with my teammates, but in the long run, I think my teammates would love for me to be healthy and be out there with them when we're fighting to get in the playoffs again."
There's no chance of that this year — Miami entered Monday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers with the NBA's worst record, 11-50.
So with all hope of saving this dismal season gone, Heat coach Pat Riley agreed that the time has come to shut down his All-Star guard.
"There's no doubt it's a function of the record. My God, it didn't take a news bulletin for that," Riley said. "Yes, we aren't going to make the playoffs. It's a lost season. We know that. We don't want it to be a lost career. That's how I look at it."
Wade finishes the season averaging 24.6 points, fifth-best in the NBA.
He will miss Miami's final 21 games, and essentially get about 3 months off before the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team reconvenes to resume training for this summer's Beijing Games. Riley clearly has some concerns about seeing his franchise's best player expose himself to potential injury, but indicated he won't bar Wade from playing for his country, either.
"That's Dwyane's decision," Riley said. "He wants to be an Olympic champion."
Wade still wants to be part of that, yet acknowledged that playing in China isn't his primary goal right now.
"I'm still committed to the Olympic team," Wade said. "But right now, my focus is on getting healthy."
Wade becomes the third Heat player who's out for the season because of injuries, adding to a litany of roster woes in Miami. Alonzo Mourning and forward Dorell Wright both have knee injuries and will not play the rest of the year.