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Wade says he'll try to return for playoffs

3/5/2007 - NBA Dwyane Wade Miami Heat + more

MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade will try to come back this season.

The Miami Heat guard said Monday he has decided to delay surgery
and rehabilitate his dislocated left shoulder with the goal of
returning for the playoffs.

"My decision for the next two to three weeks is to rehab with
the possibility of coming back, but with no guarantee," Wade said.
"I'll find out after therapy and rehab how my body responds to
things."

Wade was hurt Feb. 21 at Houston. He underwent extensive tests
and received a second opinion Friday from specialist Dr. James
Andrews before deciding he would try to return.

"The fact there's a possibility would give us hope," coach Pat
Riley said. "He's a pretty good player. He probably would be a
pretty good player one-armed."

The defending NBA champion Heat, plagued by injuries all season,
enter Monday night's game against Atlanta at 29-29 and are in
danger of missing the playoffs.

The Heat are 3-2 since Wade was hurt when he collided with
Houston's Shane Battier. The All-Star guard tore his labrum,
dislocated his shoulder and left the court in a wheelchair.

At the time, his was the league's third-leading scorer,
averaging 28.8 points.

Wade said the decision to return was difficult, even though
Andrews and team physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick supported the idea. Wade said he was told he can't further damage his shoulder by
playing, although another dislocation is possible.

"The main thing I can do is feel that same pain again. That's
one thing I don't want to feel," he said with a smile.

"It could have been easy for me just to shut it down," Wade
said. "You don't know if you're going to be able to attack the
same way and dive on the floor the same way. I'll find out after
therapy and rehab how my body responds to things."

Wade is still wearing a sling when he sleeps to keep the
shoulder stable.

He said he might be able to return for the last couple of
regular-season games before the playoffs start April 21. Even if he
does come back, he's still expected to have surgery after the
season, with the recovery time estimated at four to six months.

Riley said the organization didn't try to influence Wade's
decision.

"He's a warrior. He's a soldier. And these are his guys,"

Riley said. "The doctors are world-renowned, and they said he can
go forward this way. This is what you do when you're a defending
champion. He has made the decision to try to rehab it and hopefully
help the team, and he should be admired for that."

Riley said he's confident Wade can alter his slashing, acrobatic
playing style as necessary to protect his shoulder.

"He has a tremendous amount of skill and awareness and
smarts," Riley said. "Whatever adjustment would have to be made,
I think he would make the adjustment and still be pretty
effective."

The playoffs start April 21. Even if Wade returns this season,
he is still expected to have surgery after the season.