Thursday , Jun , 02 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Wade leaves Game 5 with strained rib muscle

Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade left Game 5
of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday after sustaining a strained rib

Despite the loss of Wade, the Heat defeated the Detroit Pistons 88-76 and now
lead the best-of-seven set 3-2.

“I think this is the first time in a couple of games that we came out and
everyone was a big, big part of (the game), and it’s great,” said Wade.

Wade, who has carried Miami throughout the playoffs as superstar center
Shaquille O’Neal continues to be plagued by a bruised right thigh, left the
game on two occasions before permanently coming out in the fourth quarter.

The 22-year-old Wade first exited the contest with 5:08 left in the third
quarter after taking a charge from Rasheed Wallace, although the injury was
apparently sustained prior to that play. He was examined in the locker room
and was fitted for a flak jacket before returning to the court for the start
of the fourth period.

“I took the charge because I couldn’t move,’ said Wade. “Actually I was glad
he was coming at me. I wanted to stop play anyway, so I think it was a good
way to go out.

However, after just over two minutes of action in the final quarter, Wade
appeared to still be in pain and motioned to the bench where he was quickly
taken out. Wade was then immediately escorted back to the locker room, where
he was grimacing and holding his side.

“I tried to come back because we have a lot of guys on our team playing
through a lot,” said Wade. “I tried to come back and see if I get out there
and get going that it will feel better, but I couldn’t and I didn’t want to
make it any worse. I had confidence that my team could get this victory, and
they did.”

After further tests, the preliminary report did not deem the injury serious,
although Wade will be further evaluated and is listed as day-to-day.

“I feel that our staff will do everything in their power to get me prepared
for the game (on Saturday night). If I feel that I can go out and help my
team, I will play. If I feel that I’m going to go out there and hurt my team,
then I won’t. I’ve got all the confidence in the world with me being young,
that hopefully I can bounce back from this,” said Wade.

Wade ended with 15 points in only 27 minutes of action.

In 13 playoff games this season, the second-year pro out of Marquette is
averaging 27.8 points.

Miami can now wrap up the set and advance to the NBA Finals for the first time
in franchise history when the teams travel to The Palace for Game 6 on
Saturday night.