AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade has been suspended from Friday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons for his kick to the groin of Charlotte Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions during Wednesday’s road victory.
Wade was cited Thursday night by the NBA, “for flailing his leg and making contact with the groin” of Sessions.
The incident occurred with 8:12 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Heat’s 105-92 victory at Time Warner Cable Arena, after Sessions was called for a foul on the play. Wade was not cited for a foul or any violation at the time.
After the game, Sessions said he believed Wade’s contact was intentional.
Wade was not available for comment Thursday, with the Heat given the day off by coach Erik Spoelstra.
The suspension could leave the Heat in a bind, with backup guard Ray Allen missing Wednesday’s game with a bruised right shoulder sustained during Tuesday’s home victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Wade has played some of his best ball of the season in recent games, including a game-high 29 points in Wednesday’s victory, the Heat’s sixth in a row.
It will be the fourth game missed by Wade this season. He missed a Nov. 9 road victory over the Atlanta Hawks with a cold, a Nov. 15 road victory over the Denver Nuggets with a sprained left foot and a Nov. 17 road victory over the Phoenix Suns with that sprained left foot.
While he has played in the 15 games since, Spoelstra has stressed keeping Wade’s minutes within reason after Wade underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in July. The Pistons game is the third of four games in five nights, with the Heat’s five-game trip continuing Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Mike Miller likely will start in Wade’s place, as he has during Wade’s three previous absences.
While Wade remains among the league’s most popular players, Thursday announced by the NBA as the leader among all Eastern Conference guards in ongoing fan balloting for the starting lineup in the All-Star Game, he has had his share of run-ins with opposing players.
Similar to the Sessions incident was a 2011 playoff incident when Wade tangled with Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo while scrambling for a loose ball. After Rondo caught Wade with an elbow, Wade appeared to stick his leg out in front of Rondo. That Game 3 incident in the best-of-seven series left Rondo with a dislocated elbow, with the Heat going on to win that series, amid Celtics calls for a Wade suspension that never came.
In a similar retaliatory incident, Wade was called for a flagrant foul in a 2011 regular-season game against the Celtics’ Kevin Garnett, after Garnett caught Miller with a vicious screen.
Then, during last season’s playoffs, Wade was assessed a flagrant foul on Indiana Pacers point guard Darren Collison, who he ran down on a fastbreak, in the wake of his own complaints about not receiving a foul call on the Pacers.
Of all of Wade’s incidents, the most surprising was a physical foul on Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during the 2012 All-Star Game that left Bryant sidelined with concussion symptoms and a broken nose. Wade had been angered about Bryant not being called for previous hits he deemed as fouls. While Bryant finished out that game, he later returned during the regular season wearing a protective facemask.
Wednesday’s game earlier featured a tussle between Heat power forward Udonis Haslem and Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson, after Henderson committed a hard foul on Heat forward LeBron James. Haslem and Henderson each were called for technical fouls on the play, the only technical fouls issued Wednesday.
Wade has not been called for a flagrant foul this season, with his lone technical foul coming for shoves traded with Thunder forward Serge Ibaka in Tuesday’s victory.
Earlier this season, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was suspended one game for a punch to the groin of Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo.
At 20-6, the Heat are off to the best 26-game start in the franchise’s 25 seasons.