Fourteen games remain on the Chicago Bulls’ schedule, and it’s fair to wonder whether Dwyane Wade will be available for any of them.
The 35-year-old suffered a right shoulder injury during the second half of the Chicago Bulls’ Wednesday night loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. He exited the game midway through the fourth and didn’t return, despite trying to power through the pain.
Initial reactions are always hyperbolic, so it’s important to wait for an official diagnosis. But, for the time being, let’s just say things aren’t looking good, per ESPN.com’s Nick Friedell:
“I’ve got to get an MRI tomorrow morning and see what it is,” Wade said. “I just got caught up going up for a rebound with [Grizzlies big man] Zach [Randolph] and one of our big guys, got caught up there in the mix of stuff and heard a couple of pops.”
“I knew it was something a little bit more, just because of what I heard. I tried to play through it a little bit, until the pain started getting more excruciating.”
With their loss to the Grizzlies, the Bulls are now one game behind the eighth-place Detroit Pistons for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. They’ll need to usurp the ninth-place Miami Heat as well if they’re to sneak into the picture.
That’s going to be a tall order if Wade isn’t able to play, even if it’s just temporarily. He doesn’t improve their performance, statistically, on either end of the floor, according to NBA.com, but he has been one of their most consistently productive players.
It helps that the Bulls have the East’s third-easiest schedule to close out the year, per PlayoffStatus.com. One of the teams with an easier go of it, though, is the Pistons.
No matter what happens with Wade, then, the Bulls have their work cut out for them.