Posted Feb 21 2011 8:08AM
LOS ANGELES -- Last season, Dwyane Wade went into the All-Star Game and made jaws drop from coast-to-coast with a show-stopping performance that won him the MVP award.
This time around Wade nearly made the audience back in South Florida swallow their collective tongues when he rolled his right ankle and limped off the floor in the third quarter.
"I'm sure everybody in the Heat organization was looking at it like, 'Uh-oh! Go sit down.' So I did that," Wade said.
"I'll be fine. It's the All-Star Game. If it was a regular season game, I would have tied my shoe a little bit tighter and gone back out there. I didn't want to do too much because we have a big schedule coming up. Those other guys on the bench can get in there and play."
The injury occurred with just over five minutes left in the third quarter when Wade was dribbling across midcourt and Deron Williams moved forward to make a play on the ball. Wade jumped into the air, did a 180-degree spin and tried to flip the ball behind his back to Rajon Rondo, but came down on top of Williams' foot.
"Deron gave me a little chuck, so I changed my mind a little bit and came down wrong and tweaked it a little bit," Wade said. "So I just went right to the bench.
"It will be alright. The more and more you guys keep asking questions, the more and more it's starting to ache. If you stop doing that, I'll be alright."
It was the same ankle that Wade had rolled the previous Sunday in Miami's loss at Boston. He was hardly bothered by that tweaking, coming right back on Tuesday night to score 41 points and grab 12 rebounds at Indiana and then finished with 28 and seven to complete back-to-back wins 24 hours later at Toronto.
"I respond well to turned ankles," Wade said. "If nobody had seen that Boston game and didn't know that I rolled an ankle then, I don't think they would have thought anything was wrong in Indiana."
It's one thing to be playing in an All-Star exhibition that doesn't count in the standings. But Wade said you can't take the court and play with an exhibition game attitude.
"You do think about it a little bit," he said. "Sometimes it determines how aggressive you are on a certain play. But you try to have fun with it and you try to play your game the way you normally play.
"You can't walk on eggshells. If you try to walk on eggshells, that's when something is gonna happen. The good thing about the All-Star Game is so far no one's ever left with a major injury and that's good. Knock on wood, it never happens in the All-Star Game."
Wade shook his head marveling at Kobe Bryant's MVP effort on Sunday night.
"Kobe and his teammates looked for him," he said. "They wanted him to get the MVP. He came out very aggressive. That's as aggressive as I've seen anyone play in an All-Star Game. He had almost 40 points. I wish the East would have won and my teammate with a triple-double might have stole it. But he deserved it.
"It was like he was playing with the L.A. Lakers tonight. And he got whistles like he was playing for the L.A. Lakers. Kobe was going for MVP tonight. It was that obvious. I think my three-year-old son knew it."
Wade, who finished with 14 points in 20 minutes, had a definite opinion on the triple-double effort of his Heat teammate LeBron James.
"It just made me glad that he's getting on the plane to Miami with me," Wade said. "I'm glad he's on my side."
The Heat have 26 games left in the stretch run of the regular season and at 41-15 are in a virtual tie with Boston for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. But Miami is just two games up on the Bulls and has a key game in Chicago on Thursday night.
"As All-Stars, what LeBron, Chris (Bosh) and I take from this experience is the leadership and the knowledge of what has to be done in what remains of the season," he said. "We'll get back to Miami and we'll talk to our coaches, our teammates and everybody, communicate our goals, how we meet them and where we want to go."
Perhaps that's a return visit to the Staples Center against the Lakers in several months.
"I would love to come here around June-ish time, check things out and see how L.A. would treat me then," he said.
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