Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pat Riley is ready for another sabbatical

Just when he thought he was in, they push him back out.

I'm not trying to imply that Miami Heat coach Pat Riley deliberately decided that the middle of the season - which conveniently coincided with Shaquille O'Neal's recovery from knee surgery - was a good time for procedures on his own knee and hip. I'll just let the Miami Herald's Dan LeBatard come right out and say it for me. (Here's some disagreement from elsewhere in the Herald's sports department.)

But with Dwyane Wade dislocating his shoulder last night - an injury that could keep him on the bench in street clothes for six weeks - I can't help but wonder if Riley's knee and hip are starting to ache more than they did earlier in the week.

I suppose we'll have to wait to see the doctor's prognosis on Wade's shoulder before we know whether or not Riles will find the strength to lead the Heat into a possible playoff run (where we'll surely hear that they're "the team no one wants to face"). But being helped off the court in a wheelchair can't be a good sign.

Was the wheelchair a bit much? Well, I'm no doctor, though I spent enough years in college for the occasional acquaintance to ask if I was going to medical school. Friends who would know better tell me the team physicians needed to keep Wade's shoulder immobilized. And he apparently has been having issues with that shoulder for the past week. I can only imagine how painful a dislocated shoulder must be, so I'm not trying to imply that Wade would exaggerate his agony. That would just make me an @$$hole. However, there has been recorded visual evidence of Wade misrepresenting how he's been thrown to the floor.

Regardless, no one likes to see a team's chances killed by injury. And suddenly, it's not looking so good for Miami's playoff prospects. Judging from the Miami Herald's blogs, it could be over. Israel Gutierrez: "Worst possible scenario? This is pretty much it." Greg Cote: "Wade injury = Heat nightmare." (Gutierrez still thinks the Heat "is still a .500 team or better," however. After all, they do still have The Big Aristotle.)

Of course, this all could just be setting up a glorious comeback story, a further testament to the coaching and leadership genius of Pat Riley. If the Heat somehow manages to make a playoff run without Wade, we'd very likely hear all kinds of praise for this being one of Riley's best coaching jobs ever (despite benefiting from the aforementioned presence of one of the NBA's most unstoppable forces). And that might be enough to keep the coach pacing the sideline all the way into a first-round playoff series with the Detroit Pistons. Will we see you here, Coach?

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