Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwayne Wade has informed USA Basketball that he will be unable to play in the Olympics this summer because of an upcoming surgery on his ailing left knee.
“I’ve decided to listen to my doctors and get the procedure I need on my knee,” Wade told The Associated Press on Thursday. “USA Basketball said I had to do what was best for me. They want me to be obviously as healthy as possible so I can continue to play this game at a high level. They were very supportive and told me if I ever want to come around the team, I’m welcome and that I’m part of the family.”
Wade and his doctors are in the process of scheduling the surgery. Wade has been told it will be basically a “cleanup” procedure and should have him on crutches for only about a day afterward.
“As many people may know, throughout the season, I struggled with a recurring knee issue. After the championship game, I visited with my doctors for a round of comprehensive medical tests, and the recent results dictate the need for surgery. While every part of me wants to be in London, I need to take this time to do what’s best to improve my health and allow me to continue to play the game I love. It was an honor to represent my country in 2004 and in 2008 when we won the gold medal. My thoughts and best wishes will travel with Team USA as they prepare to bring home the gold,” said Wade.
As a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team that finished 8-0 and won the gold medal, Wade averaged a team best 16.0 ppg. While his Miami Heat teammate LeBron James disappeared in the clutch during the gold medal game against Spain, it was Wade and Kobe Bryant who led the U.S. to victory with numerous big plays.
“D-Wade has a lot of equity with USA Basketball and has made great contributions to our program. We’re sorry he won’t be with us this summer, but we know he’ll be with us in spirit,” said said USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo.
The loss of Wade appears to be a trend this year for USA basketball, as several other stars have had to cancel their Olympic plans due to injury, including Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Derrick Rose.
“The reason I wanted to play this time around was because of the guys, a lot of guys from that team and the camaraderie that we shared – that was special. I’m going to miss that,” Wade said. “And another reason why I wanted to play again is that my sons are a little older this time. They’d have an opportunity to be there, to share in the experience.”
Wade’s decision means that Miami will have no more than two players on the U.S. team in London. Finals MVP LeBron James is a lock for the team, and forward Chris Bosh said earlier this week that he’s “all in – for now” despite missing nine playoff games with a strained abdominal muscle. Bosh said he would confer with doctors before making a final commitment to the Olympic team.
The team now has 17 finalists contending for 12 roster spots: Carmelo Anthony; Chris Bosh; Kobe Bryant; Tyson Chandler; Anthony Davis; Kevin Durant; Rudy Gay; Eric Gordon; Blake Griffin; James Harden; Andre Iguodala; LeBron James; Kevin Love; Lamar Odom; Chris Paul; Russell Westbrook; and Deron Williams.