Wade exits two minutes into final period of Game 5

MIAMI -- Miami's win in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference
finals may have come at a high price.

Dwyane Wade, the team's leading scorer in both the regular
season and the playoffs, strained a rib muscle on his right side in
the Heat's 88-76 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday
Wade missed the final 5:08 of the third quarter, then the final
9:42 of the game because of the injury, which happened while he was
executing a crossover dribble midway through the third quarter. He
later aggravated it taking a charge from the Pistons' Rasheed
And Wade wasn't sure he would be ready for Game 6 in Detroit on
Saturday night -- when the Heat can clinch its first-ever Eastern
Conference championship.
"I guess my wife will have to sleep in another bed tonight,
because if she hits me, it'll hurt," said Wade, who finished with
15 points in 27 minutes. "It just hurts. It's painful right now.
I'll get on the medicine that the doctors gave me and hopefully it
goes away a little bit."
After drawing the charge, Wade -- who regularly wears protective
padding around his ribs -- went into the locker room for an
examination, and returned to the bench just before the start of the
fourth quarter.
Wade was on the floor to open the fourth quarter, but motioned
to the bench that he was in distress about 2 minutes into the
"I just made a quick move on the crossover, and I pulled a
muscle by doing that. Hopefully it'll feel better in the morning,"
he said. "I tried to come back. We got a lot of guys on our team
playing through a lot. So I tried to come back and see if I get out
there and get going it would feel better but ... I couldn't and I
didn't want to make it any worse; and I had confidence my team
could get this victory, and they did."
"He tried to go. I give him a lot of credit for that," Heat
coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Wade left with the Heat leading 76-62, and without their top
scorer, Miami remained in control the rest of the way.
"He's a tough kid, so he must have been hurting," Heat center
Shaquille O'Neal said. "But other guys stepped up. We did what
we're supposed to do."
Wade missed four games during the regular season with a similar
injury on his left side. He walked gingerly to the interview room
on Thursday night, yet teammates said they found some consolation
in the belief that the injury wasn't very serious.
"You don't want to see anyone on your team get injured,
especially Dwyane Wade, with everything that he brings to the
table," said forward Rasual Butler, who had 12 points in Game 5.
"He's such an exciting player for this league, not just our team.
... If I know Dwyane Wade, he'll be ready for Game 6."
Wade is averaging 28 points in 13 playoff games this season, and
27 points in the five games against the Pistons.
"Hopefully I can get better, come back and keep embarking on
this great season we've been having," Wade said.