When Miami Heat star sixth man Dwyane Wade took a scary, hard fall on a drive to the basket late in the third quarter on Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks and was very slow to get up, the worst could've come to mind.
What if Wade, with 14 regular-season games remaining in his "One Last Dance" retirement season, were to miss a significant chunk of those down the final stretch? Or even all of them?
Crisis averted from that standpoint.
"I think Dwyane will be OK. He fell on his hip pretty hard, but he was moving around OK when he came back," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after Friday's game.
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Wade, who played Friday despite entering as questionable with a bruised elbow, reaffirmed: "I'm OK. Just got a little bruise. I'll be all right."
He was able to return to the game after a pit stop in the locker room for his bruised right hip, as was point guard Justise Winslow with his right thigh bruise – his return simultaneous with Wade's initial exit after Winslow went to the locker room earlier in the third.
Winslow, however, appeared to feel the effects of his injury more upon his return. After he scored 20 points in the first half, a career high for the fourth-year player out of Duke, on 8-for-12 shooting and 3 of 5 from three with four assists, two steals and a block, Winslow was scoreless in 12 minutes in the second half.
"Justise, he certainly wasn't moving around in the second half the way he was in the first half," Spoelstra said. "(Saturday) is going to be a big treatment day, around the clock."
Winslow said the thigh bruise slowed him down "a good amount."
"I just didn't have the top gear that I usually like to play with on both ends of the floor," he said. "It affected me, but my mind state was that I was out there. I was trying to push through it and try to help my team win."
The Heat had been as healthy as they've been all season heading into Friday's game. All NBA contract players have been available since the March 8 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. With five games in seven days coming, beginning with Sunday afternoon's critical matchup with the Charlotte Hornets at AmericanAirlines Arena, Friday night was not ideal timing for injuries to two key players.