Dwyane Wade practices with Heat
MIAMI -- LeBron James spent part of Tuesday's practice wearing tinted goggles in a playful show of support for Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade, who has worn them to combat migraine symptoms that forced him out of Saturday's game and have limited his preparation this week.
But the Heat don't need rose-colored glasses to envision a scenario in which at least two of their top three players would be available for Thursday's game against the New York Knicks.
The defending champs are trying to three-peat. The Heat Index.
Wade is still coping with a sensitivity to light caused by his recent migraines. But he practiced Tuesday for the second consecutive day and is expected to return to the starting lineup alongside James at Madison Square Garden. He sat out Saturday's 120-103 home victory against the Toronto Raptors.
"I'm getting better every day," said Wade, who ditched his original set of goggles for a specially designed pair that arrived in time for Tuesday's practice. "That's all I can ask for. I appreciate the support [from James].
"It would be funny if everybody comes in [for Wednesday's practice] with goggles on," Wade added. "That would be a very expensive bill for the Heat. These things ain't cheap."
The prognosis for forward Chris Bosh remained far less certain. Bosh has not practiced since he sustained a high left ankle sprain Jan. 15 in the fourth quarter of the Heat's loss at Chicago. He did not make the trip to New York with the Heat on Wednesday.
Guard Eddie House also missed Tuesday's practice with a left ankle injury and is questionable for Thursday.
Bosh was initially listed as day to day, but his absence could stretch into a matter of weeks.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Bosh would have to go through a practice before he would be allowed to play -- a requirement that has typically been applied to the Heat's entire roster. If that standard holds, Bosh could miss at least the next four games.
The Heat (31-13) have back-to-back games scheduled, with Thursday's stop in New York followed by Friday's home game against Detroit. Miami is not expected to practice Saturday and starts another back-to-back set with games Sunday in Oklahoma City and Monday at home against Cleveland.
For the first time since Bosh was injured, Spoelstra sounded less than optimistic about his status.
"Chris is still getting better, but he's not ready to run full speed and certainly not ready to practice," Spoelstra said Tuesday. "I don't have any new news on his front. He's just doing all of his treatment, all the work that he can. I don't have a timetable for him. All I can tell you is he's getting better."
Spoelstra said the team wouldn't be able to gauge Bosh's return until he's able to run full speed and move laterally. He also said Bosh's high ankle sprain is not like the one sustained last summer by point guard Mario Chalmers, who was in a cast for six weeks and did not resume normal basketball activities for nearly two months.
"[Bosh] doesn't have the swelling you normally see, certainly not like Mario went through," Spoelstra said. "You can already see [Bosh is] walking around."
Bosh was on the court at the end of Tuesday's practice with his ankle wrapped in ice and a bandage. He spent time shooting free throws with Wade as team president Pat Riley watched from the sideline.
Bosh did not speak with the media Tuesday, but said last week he would avoid the temptation to rush back too soon and risk a long-term absence.
Playing almost exclusively at power forward in Bosh's absence Saturday, James focused more on his post-up game and finished with 38 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists in 38 minutes. James said he would continue to work down low with Bosh out.
"As basketball players, we want to play every game," said Bosh, who averages 18.6 points and is tied with injured backup Udonis Haslem for the team lead in rebounding at 8.2 per game. "We could lose an arm and still find an excuse to be out there. But you have to be smart about it, especially with this team. We want to play for a long time. It's still early. It's the halfway point of the year. We need to take advantage of the rest we can get right now and get healthy."
The Heat have gone just 6-4 in their past 10 games amid a recent rash of injuries, with both James and Bosh sitting out two games with ankle injuries and Wade missing one. They're nearing the end of a stretch that has included only two games over a span of 11 days -- time off that has helped them heal.
But Tuesday was also about unity, which is what sparked James to don red-tinted goggles toward the end of practice to poke fun at Wade.
"D-Wade is like a kid who transferred schools and they don't have any friends," James said. "So, I felt like putting on glasses today, I would help him be accustomed to the new school we've got going on here. I decided to join him and make him become a part of our boy scout club, I guess."
Michael Wallace covers the NBA for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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