Wade improving; no timetable for return to Heat

MIAMI (AP) - The first step of Dwyane Wade’s recovery from a strained right hamstring seems complete.

Wade has resumed some light exercise and will likely begin what the Miami Heat call “extensive court work” in about a week, meaning there’s still a chance he returns to play before the preseason ends. He pulled the hamstring very early in Miami’s preseason opener and has been rehabbing since.

Miami’s preseason finale is Oct. 22 against Orlando. The Heat open the regular season in Boston on Oct. 26.

“We would definitely want to get a preseason game in,” two-time NBA MVP LeBron James said. “Not going to sit here and lie and say the 26th is the first day that we want him back. We would love for him to get some in-game action, for us to get in-game action as a full unit. Hopefully that happens. I’m not sure what his target date is, but I know he’s making progress.”

The Heat were at home Tuesday night against CSKA Moscow in an exhibition.

Wade isn’t the only Heat player sidelined these days; point guard Carlos Arroyo and reserve center Jamaal Magloire were also ruled out for Tuesday with minor injuries, and it’s unlikely either returns to the lineup when Miami visits New Orleans on Wednesday.

“Anytime you’re dealing with something sensitive like a hamstring or turf toe or jammed thumb, anything like that, those are very sensitive,” James said. “So I’m definitely happy that he’s coming along.”

After a summer of waiting to play together, Wade, James and Chris Bosh made their debut as Heat teammates amid great fanfare on Oct. 5. They were together for all of 3 minutes, 17 seconds, before Wade tweaked the muscle while trying to defend Detroit’s Richard Hamilton.

Wade limped to the bench, then into the locker room, and hasn’t done any team on-court activity since. And while Tuesday’s news that he is improving is obviously what the Heat wanted to hear, they won’t take any risks during the next step of Wade’s recovery.

“He’s virtually pain-free now to the touch and digging around in there,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s been doing therapy for a week now, he’s already started the process of exercise, so 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 then we’ll work on conditioning starting next week.”

The Heat play at home against Charlotte on Oct. 18, then are scheduled to practice the following two days before closing the exhibition schedule against Atlanta (Oct. 21) and Orlando.

Given that, it would seem likely that the Heat would target the Oct. 19 practice as one where Wade might resume the process of meshing with his new teammates.

“He probably feels great,” Spoelstra said. “But he certainly doesn’t have the strength and conditioning in it, so we’ll be judicious on when we bring him back. He’s already starting light exercise right now and in about a week we’ll probably take it to the next level and start conditioning and doing more extensive court work.”

Wade has been around the team daily, and traveled with the Heat to preseason games in Kansas City and San Antonio last weekend. He also appeared at the home of Heat executive Alonzo Mourning on Monday for a fundraiser headlined by President Barack Obama.

Plus, with this being his eighth year in the Heat system, there isn’t a whole lot for him to learn about the playbook, Spoelstra said.

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