Dwyane Wade accompanied the Miami Heat to Detroit on Friday. Whether he’ll join them on the basketball court tonight remains unknown.
Wade’s strained right rib muscle remained painful and tender, so much so that he wasn’t able to participate in his team’s light on-court workout. His status won’t be determined until today, but teammates are preparing themselves for the prospect of playing without him in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
“He definitely didn’t look like one of the top 50 beautiful people when he came in this morning,” backcourt mate Damon Jones said, referring to Wade’s recent inclusion on People magazine’s annual list.
Occasional jokes aside, Wade’s injury is clearly concerning the Heat. He was their leading scorer in the regular season, has raised his game to another level in the playoffs, and has averaged 27 points in the five games so far against Detroit in this best-of-7 series, which Miami leads 3-2.
Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said he has no plans to keep Wade out of Game 6 and rest him in case the series comes down to a winner-take-all Game 7 in Miami on Monday night.
“That would not be my preference, no,” Van Gundy said. “My preference would be to play my best players every game.”
Shaq steps up for Mikan
The family of George Mikan accepted Shaquille O’Neal’s offer to pay for the late center’s funeral expenses.
O’Neal said arrangements were finalized Friday. “Everything’s going to be handled,” O’Neal said.
Mikan, the NBA’s first dominant big man, died Wednesday night at a rehabilitation center in Scottsdale, Ariz., following a long fight with diabetes and kidney ailments. He was 80.
O’Neal said he enjoyed getting to know and speak with Mikan on several occasions. Shortly after the Heat beat Detroit in Game 5 on Thursday, O’Neal said he would like to handle the funeral costs.
“I heard they were having some problems, so if you contact the Heat office, I would like to pay for the funeral,” O’Neal said.
Karl suspended, fined
Denver Nuggets coach George Karl was suspended for the first three regular-season games of the 2005-06 season and the team was fined $200,000 by the NBA for violating rules prohibiting contact with players not yet eligible for the draft.
The league said the violation occurred from May 16-18, when Karl attended workouts at Marquette.
•Detroit forward Rasheed Wallace was fined $20,000 by the NBA for his public criticism of the officiating in the Pistons’ loss in Miami on Thursday night.
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