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NBA Contender In Danger of Losing Role Player for Rest of Season

Mar 25, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; A general view of an official NBA game basketball in the second quarter of a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Charlotte Hornets at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Out with a knee injury since early March, Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Dean Wade may miss the rest of the regular season. Although nothing is official, “a return is not imminent” for Wade, according to cleveland.com:

The next morning, Wade felt soreness and popped up on the injury report, eventually getting ruled out for the matchup against the Rockets. That lingering issue, initially characterized as “soreness,” is now being termed a “knee sprain” — the kind of injury that could keep him out for the remainder of the regular season, sources tell cleveland.com. A return is not imminent.

Recently, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said Wade’s injury was one “he continued to play through” before it became too much for the forward:

“He’s day-to-day right now,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s something that he’ was dealing with and he continued to play through it. It just got to a point where he couldn’t play through it anymore. They’ve tried different things medically and we’re just trying to see how he progresses.

Wade has started 32 of 54 games played this season, including his last two games. On the season, he is averaging 5.4 points and 4 rebounds per game. Furthermore, Wade is shooting 41.4% from the field and 39.1% from beyond the arc. Currently, the Cavaliers have a 45-30 record and own the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

NBA Contender In Danger of Losing Role Player for Rest of Season

What Losing Dean Wade Would Mean for the Cleveland Cavaliers

Wade is a solid three-point shooting and rebounding power forward. Furthermore, he is solid on the defensive end. After his heroic performance against the Boston Celtics last month, Bickerstaff spoke highly of Wade, calling him “a hell of a basketball player“:

When Dean Wade is playing with that extreme confidence, he’s a hell of a basketball player. He’s a multi-faceted guy. He’s not just a spot-up shooter. We know the thing he can do defensively, but he has an offense game and tonight he got it rolling. The belief, the confidence, that’s who he is at his core.

Additionally, he is good depth behind Evan Mobley. If Wade is not available, Cleveland will likely rely more heavily on Georges Niang and the recently-acquired Marcus Morris. The power forward position is arguably the thinnest on the team. Losing extra depth, especially this late in the season, could prove to be a difficult challenge for the Cavaliers to overcome.

The Last Word on Dean Wade

It’s important to remember Wade has not officially been ruled out for the rest of the season. However, with just a few weeks left and no return imminent, it’s cause for concern. Even so, the Cavaliers have a good team and are the No. 3 seed in the East for a reason. They have yet to officially clinch a playoff spot, but it should happen soon. Additionally, with Cleveland sitting 2.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the No. 2 seed, it will be interesting to see if they can make a late-season push, even without Wade.

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