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What Took Pat Riley So Long?

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To shut down Dwyane Wade, that is.

Finally, Wade's painful season is over -- although the Heat's will sadly go on.

As reported by ESPN:

Heat coach Pat Riley announced Monday that Wade, the All-Star guard and 2006 NBA Finals MVP who has battled left knee pain throughout the season, will not play in Miami's final 21 games this year.

Later this week, he'll undergo OssaTron treatment -- a high-tech, high-powered form of shock wave therapy. The non-surgical procedure lasts about 30 minutes, and afterward, Wade will be limited to passive exercise (such as swimming and bicycle work) for the first 30 days. After that, he may return to basketball-related activity.

For the sake of Wade's career, here's hoping this isn't a classic case of too little, too late.

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Wade has battled an assortment of injuries through most of the last two seasons, and the idea of resting the franchise's prime investment in order to sacrifice his presence now for the long term would seem to be sensible.  That said, with the Heat just two years removed from a championship, it was understandable that Pat Riley wanted to make an effort at another playoff run.

So it made it excusable that ol' Riles gave the Heat some time to acclimate to Wade's return after a 1-6 start.  But by the turn of the calendar they had gone just 7-17 since Wade's return, leaving them at 8-23.  The warning bells should have started going off at that point, and even in the Eastern Conference (where it's nearly impossible to fall out of contention), a 1-13 month of January meant it was time to pack it in.

The Heat certainly don't need the few wins that Wade could have helped them to obtain, and he doesn't need to be putting additional wear and tear on an already delicate body in just his fifth season in the league.  Perhaps this will be a case of better late than never for Riley, Wade and the Miami organization.