Wade suffered a mild sprain of his left ankle as the Heat beat the Wizards for the seventh straight time, 106-83 on Monday.
The Heat have won each of the three meetings between the teams this season, and haven’t lost to the Wizards since a 91-87 defeat on April 11, 2003, in Washington.
A Heat spokesperson said Wade’s second-half absence was “more precautionary than anything else” and he is expected to play Wednesday. Wade, who failed to score in 18 minutes, was injured while grabbing a loose ball with 3:18 left in the half.
Wade badly wanted to keep playing, but O’Neal told him to take the game off.
O’Neal went on to score a season-high 40 points on 15-of-23 shooting, and added 12 rebounds and five blocks. Miami outscored Washington 56-32 in the paint.
“That’s what we’re going to have to do when (me or Wade) go out,” said O’Neal, whose previous season high was 34 against the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 30. “The other one is going to have to step up.”
Miami’s Rasual Butler had 16 points and tied his career high with seven rebounds. Eddie Jones added 14 points after averaging just 5.5 in his previous four games. Damon Jones 12 points to go with nine assists.
Gilbert Arenas scored 18 points for Washington, which lost for only the third time in 12 games. The Wizards had won two straight.
Kwame Brown added 16 points but had trouble handling O’Neal.
“There’s no game plan that works against Shaq,” said Brown, who had four rebounds. “Anybody who tells you that, they’re crazy.”
The Wizards scored just 32 points in the first half—their lowest output of the season—and trailed by 11 at the break. Leading scorers Antawn Jamison (1-of-7), Larry Hughes (2-of-11) and Arenas (2-of-9) contributed to 33 percent shooting before intermission.
“Hopefully, that will be the only time that happens this year,” Hughes said of the trio’s struggles. “We definitely can’t shoot the ball like that and expect to win.”