Dwyane Wade healing but no return set
MIAMI -- Technically the Miami Heat got some good news about Dwyane Wade's hamstring Tuesday. But in the short term, they also realized the possibility that the next time he plays could be in the season opener in Boston in two weeks.
A week after tweaking his right hamstring while coming around a pick in the preseason opener, Wade is indeed feeling better. But coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade likely won't start basketball activities for another week, putting him in jeopardy of missing the Heat's remaining preseason games. If that is the case, the Heat's star-studded lineup may face the Celtics with just over three minutes of game action together.
"Dwyane is making progress; he's virtually pain-free now to the touch," Spoelstra said. "It'll be day to day but we are not going to rush it. Hamstrings are a little bit tricky. We want to make sure he gets the strength back up and we'll start conditioning next week."
After Tuesday's game with visiting CSKA Moscow, the Heat have four preseason games left culminating in a road back-to-back next Thursday and Friday against the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic. Wade has a history of pushing the timetable when returning from injuries, but it sounds as though precaution might prevent even a sampling next week.
"Right now he probably feels great but he certainly doesn't have the strength or the conditioning in it," Spoelstra said. "He does [need game time] but what are we going to do? We're going to try to rush the process? The most important thing is health. If you had to have a player out, Dwyane in this type of circumstance is probably the guy because of his IQ and his understanding of our system."
That is a strong point but Wade's new teammates have their own preferences. If Wade is able to practice by the middle of next week, Spoelstra might get lobbied from several parties.
"We would definitely want [Wade] to get a preseason game in," LeBron James said. "I'm not going to sit here and lie and say the 26th is the first day we want him back. We'd love for him to get some in-game action -- for us to get some in-game action as a full unit. So hopefully it happens."
Brian Windhorst covers the Miami Heat for ESPN.com
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