- Associated Press - Monday, January 17, 2011

MIAMI (AP) - Chris Bosh shot free throws. LeBron James worked on 40-footers. Dwyane Wade tried a few layups.

The Big 3 left a big void at Miami Heat practice Monday.

Heat history,” Wade said. “There goes some history for you guys. We all missed practice together.”

True, Monday marked the first time that Bosh, James and Wade all weren’t able to take part in a workout this season; Bosh and James have ankle injuries, and Wade _ sidelined for practice on his 29th birthday _ has a sore left knee. Combine all that with an ongoing three-game slide, and one may guess there’s major worrying going on in the Heat camp these days.

Not so.

Wade says he’s fine. James wants to play on Tuesday against Atlanta. And though it looks as though Bosh will sit against the Hawks, tests suggested that nothing serious happened when his left ankle got rolled up on an awkward play in a loss at Chicago on Saturday night, a game that ended a 2-3 marathon road trip.

“We’re dealing with a little adversity,” James said. “We knew it was going to be a tough, probably the toughest, road trip of the season with that many time zones we were going through and the times that we were getting into hotel rooms late at night. We knew it was going to be tough. Did we want to go 5-0? Of course. But we played some good basketball, could have played better at times, but the confidence and the mood hasn’t changed.”

Nonetheless, a trip that lasted 10 days and where Miami lost two of its three best players to ankle injuries, saw a 13-game road winning streak end and the team fall from the top spot in the Eastern Conference _ leaving the Heat a bit drained.

The odd beast that is the NBA schedule is giving them a bit of a break at a great time.

Miami did not play Sunday or Monday. After Tuesday’s game with Atlanta, the Heat won’t play again until Saturday against Toronto _ and after that, they don’t have another game until a trip to New York to play the Knicks on Jan. 27.

There will be some rest for the weary.

“It’s bizarre,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “The last road trip was a little bit abnormal as well, crisscrossing the states. Everybody has two or three times during the year where your schedule is a little bit off. You’re used to playing in the NBA rhythm of every 48 hours and playing your back-to-backs, and I think that’s when we find our best. But right now, this probably comes at a decent time for us.”

Miami knows things could be much worse, too.

The Heat will start Tuesday two games behind Boston in the East and still three games clear of Atlanta and 3 1/2 ahead of Orlando in the Southeast Division; the Celtics beat the Magic on Monday night, while Atlanta beat Sacramento. James is still getting his sprained left ankle treated, but said Monday if this was the postseason, he’d play without a second thought.

And with Bosh, Miami may have dodged a major bullet.

“Definitely a relief,” James said.

Bosh was hurt with 30.7 seconds left in the third quarter in Chicago, going for the ball while the Bulls’ Omer Asik dove for it as well. Asik rolled into Bosh’s lower leg, and the Heat forward immediately grabbed at his left shin in obvious pain.

“I saw it as a great hustle play,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said in Memphis before Chicago’s game there Monday.

Bosh was able to walk around relatively pain-free Monday and tests, including an MRI, showed no serious injury.

“I’d be crazy to try something like running or anything,” Bosh said. “We just want to make sure that we stay pain-free right now. That’s the main thing. … It’s better. It’s not serious. So I consider myself lucky.”

___

AP freelance writer Clay Bailey in Memphis, Tenn., contributed to this report.

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