Wade back at practice with Heat, a bit ahead of schedule Print
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Monday, 05 November 2007 13:13
NBA Headline News

 MIAMI (AP) -Dwyane Wade's surgically repaired knee survived its first real test with no setbacks.
During Wade's first full-contact practice this season with the Miami Heat, rookie center Joel Anthony threw his 6-foot-9, 260-pound body toward the 2006 NBA finals MVP as the guard headed toward the basket.
Wade didn't mind whatsoever.
After six months, he was more than anxious to see how he'd handle getting fouled again.
``It finally came,'' Wade said. ``I needed to go get that first hit and I appreciate Joel for that.''
The good news for the Heat was that Wade reported no problems related to his left knee or left shoulder - both of which were operated on May 15 - after practice Monday.
The bad news for the franchise is that Wade still doesn't know when he'll be ready to return to the Miami lineup, which could clearly use a boost after an 0-3 start.
``It was just good to be back out there playing, to be back out there practicing,'' said Wade, the three-time All-Star who averaged a career-high 27.4 points last season. ``Every player loves the games and not too many love practice, but today I loved practice - for the first time.''
One thing Wade made clear: Miami's slow start isn't a good enough reason for him to rush back into the lineup before he's certain the knee is ready.
When he returns, Wade wants to be back to stay.
``My prognostical prognosis, my assumption, I'll say about three weeks,'' Heat center Shaquille O'Neal said. ``He's still D-Wade. He looks good out there. We're avoiding the very, very rough contact, but he's shooting the ball well and getting guys involved. When he gets out there, it's going to be fun.''
Wade dislocated his left shoulder in February and missed most of the final two months of the regular season, plus was hobbled by the condition called ``jumper's knee'' when he came back for Miami's short stint in the playoffs.
So he had both conditions repaired at the same time in mid-May, being told the rehabilitation process would take about six months - meaning he's actually a bit ahead of schedule.
``It's going to be a day-to-day process, it really is,'' Wade said. ``Hopefully we don't have the Dwyane Wade watch and countdown. I really don't want to do that. I really want to concentrate on the Miami Heat and when I come back, everybody will know it and hopefully I come back ready to help the team get on a good track.''
The left shoulder, he said, is tighter than his right one now, so learning to absorb contact is the only real concern there. But the knee is Wade's ticket to explosiveness, which defines his game. And after four days of hard workouts last week, Wade had to take two days off because of soreness there.
That would indicate he's not quite ready yet for the rigors of play.
``He went after it, he took a couple hard hits, he had a good practice,'' Heat coach Pat Riley said. ``He's just going to practice every day and when he feels ready, then that's when he'll be ready. He went hard today. We scrimmaged today. We went halfcourt, we did a lot of different packages and schemes. ... He looked good.''
 

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