MIAMI --- Dwyane Wade's season with the Miami Heat is over.
Heat coach Pat Riley announced Monday that Wade, the All-Star guard and 2006 NBA Finals MVP who has battled left knee pain throughout the season, will not play in Miami's final 21 games this year.
"I think it's time," Riley said.
The move was expected, although the timing -- with so much of the season still to play -- was mildly surprising. But Wade missed Miami's game against the Golden State Warriors on Friday because of knee stiffness, telling Riley at the time that it pained him just to get out of bed.
The next day, Wade looked strong playing in Atlanta. But with all hope of the playoffs gone, the Heat -- the NBA's worst team at 11-51 -- and Wade decided Monday that the time was right to give the franchise's best player additional time to heal and rest.
As recently as last Thursday, Wade said that even though the knee is sore, he wanted to continue playing.
"I don't want to cut my minutes back," Wade said, when asked why he still wanted to play this season. "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. And whenever that day is, if it comes, I'll just start preparing for the summer and rehabbing. But the day is not today."
The day came four days later.
Wade finishes the season averaging 24.6 points, fifth-best in the NBA.