MIAMI, Fla. - Dwyane Wade said he was sorry. To Kobe Bryant. So as far as the Miami Heat guard is concerned, it's case closed when it comes to his hard foul that broke the nose of the Los Angeles Lakers guard during Sunday's NBA All-Star Game.
"I sent him a message, with my apologies. Unfortunate that happened to him, but that's all I could do," Wade said following Tuesday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena, the first time he has commented on the incident since Sunday. "He knows it's no ill intent on me to do that. Did I take a foul? Yes, I took a foul. So, talk about me for taking a foul. But I never wanted that kind of outcome."
Wade's foul left Bryant with a bloody nose that eventually was confirmed as a nasal fracture. In the immediate wake of the game at the Amway Center in Orlando, Wade did not come off as apologetic.
Tuesday, though, he insisted he reached out to the Lakers guard and Olympic teammate.
"It's unfortunate, obviously," he said. "You don't never want to hurt nobody, anybody in this game, especially on a freak play like that. So, you know it's unfortunate.
"I sent my apologies. But, you know, not intentional. If it's something I did intentionally, it's a different story. So it's unfortunate."
Teammate LeBron James came to his teammate's defense Tuesday.
"D-Wade didn't at all go for a hard foul," James said. "He went to wrap his arms up and accidentally hit him in the nose. D-Wade didn't mean that intentionally. He meant to foul him, but he didn't mean to hard foul him right there."
Among those who criticized Wade for such a hard foul during an exhibition was TNT analyst Reggie Miller, the former Indiana Pacers 3-point specialist.
"Reggie don't know what was said," Wade said. "When I saw his blood, obviously I didn't try to do that. I don't know if anybody wants me to get down on my knees in front of the world and do it. I don't have to do that.
"Like I said, everyone has an opinion, everyone uses their opinion. Like I said, I sent my apologies to Kobe and I move on from it. It's unfortunate. It was not nothing that was ill intent, in a sense. But this will be the last time I talk about it from this point on."
The Heat and the Lakers, after all, meet Sunday at Staples Center in the final game of the Heat's three-game western swing that opens Thursday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
"Everything makes things interesting," Wade said of the timing of Heat-Lakers. "So anything adds to the storyline. So it ain't going to change my approach to the game, our game plan.
"But from the standpoint of coverage, media attention, yeah it makes it interesting. But from the standpoint of how I'm going to approach the game, it's guarding Kobe. I approach it the same way."
Teammates, though, know it won't be left there, not with such a national spotlight on such a high-profile matchup.
"It was already spicy enough. It'll be fun. It'll be something to play on the reels over and over before the game," forward Chris Bosh said of Sunday's buildup. "People like that. They like to tune in. So I'm sure it will be pumped up a lot."
James said he's not sure there can be an extra-motivated Bryant.
"Kobe doesn't need extra motivation," he said. "He motivates himself. He's always prepared to play, especially when we go against him."
Wade said his foul on Bryant came because he wanted to stop play to address the referees about previous fouls he thought went uncalled.
"At that point, I took a foul. I was taking a foul," he said. "You could see I fouled him, I went right to the ref, because I was going to complain about the two calls I didn't get."
Bryant was scheduled to visit an ear, nose and throat specialist until Tuesday, with the Lakers returning to action Wednesday against the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves.
Bryant was injured during the third quarter Sunday in the Western Conference's 152-149 victory, playing to the finish.
Following Sunday's game, Wade said, "I obviously didn't try to draw no blood, but I took a foul. Kobe fouled me two times in a row, so he's still got one up on me. But I'm glad that everything was cool and we got back to being competitive and having fun."
Bryant scored 27 points in the game, passing Michael Jordan as the All-Star Game's highest-scoring player, with 271 career points.