HEAT NOTEBOOK

Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade expects to return vs. Orlando Magic

 

Saturday: Magic at Heat

When/where: 7:30 p.m.; AmericanAirlines Arena.

TV/radio: Sun Sports, NBATV; WAXY 790, 104.3 FM, WAQI 710 (Spanish).

The series: Heat leads 52-44.

Scouting report: The Heat has won six in a row against the Magic and should have Dwyane Wade back in the lineup for the first time in a week. … Guard Aaron Afflalo was one of Orlando’s lone bright spots in Wednesday’s home loss to Miami, scoring 30 points with seven three-pointers. After scoring 36 points against the Bucks, 25 versus the Mavericks and another 30 against the Heat, the 91 points scored is the best three-game stretch of Afflalo’s career.


mnavarro@MiamiHerald.com

After sitting out the Heat’s past two games with lingering knee issues, Dwyane Wade practiced Friday and said he expects to play when the Orlando Magic visit AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday night.

“When you have a bruise on your kneecap, you have to be able to lift and be able to continue to make it stronger by strengthening all the other muscles around it,” Wade said. “That’s what I’ve been able to do slowly. It’s still a process. It’s still something I’m going to be working out and dealing with for a few months.

“But this was a good week to be able to do that and [let go] of some of the aggravation I had after playing in the back-to-back [game] in Charlotte [last Saturday].”

Wade, 31, battled soreness in both knees throughout last year's playoff run to a second consecutive NBA title. The Heat expected Wade to continue to deal with soreness in his right knee after having OssaTron shock wave therapy over the summer. Wade said Friday strengthening his left knee, which required surgery in the summer of 2011, also remains a priority.

“You can never strengthen one without the other,” he said.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team couldn’t pre-plan exactly when Wade would sit out games this season to rest and strengthen his knees, and he reiterated that Wade will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. Spoelstra said he has been pleased with Wade’s progress this week and cited how the guard trained twice this week with weights on his legs and went through a hard day of conditioning Thursday.

“When you look at it big-picture, week-to-week, he’s coming along very well,” Spoelstra said. “These things take time. Sometimes it’s not consistent with how he feels from one day to the next. But he is making progress. To everyone in Heat Nation, be patient. We are very encouraged. So you should be encouraged as well.”

The Heat, 9-3 and on a five-game winning streak, blew out the Magic and Hawks by a combined 44 points earlier this week with Wade out. Miami doesn’t face another opponent currently over .500 until it travels to Chicago on Dec. 5.

STYLE POINTS

LeBron James is more than just the best basketball player on the planet. He’s the best-dressed athlete, too, GQ magazine says.

James ranked first among GQ’s rating of “The 20 Most Stylish Athletes of 2013.” “They got it right,” James said.

Wade, ranked ninth, wasn’t happy with where he was slotted on the list or that James was No. 1.

“He’s No. 1 in a lot of areas in life, but that ain’t it,” Wade said. “Congratulations to him or whoever he paid to get that.”

James did show support for Wade and said he should have been ranked higher.

“D-Wade has great style, too. Different style. Wade is a lot different than I am as far as style,” James said. “But we take that very serious, to be able to clean up and look presentable anywhere we go.”

How would the four-time MVP describe his own fashion style?

“I'm a little all over,” James said. “My style is like my game. I’m not just one-dimensional. I can pass. I can shoot. I can rebound. I can defend. I can do everything. That’s what my style is.”

• Center Greg Oden, who made a brief appearance for the Heat in the preseason but still hasn’t played in an NBA regular-season game since Dec. 5, 2009, continues to make progress, Spoelstra said Friday.

“He’s certainly getting stronger in his legs,” Spoelstra said. “He hasn’t lifted like this before ever in his life.”

The Heat, however, is in no rush to get Oden on the court, Spoelstra reiterated.

“The biggest thing with Greg for everybody is to still think big-picture, not be rushed by somebody else’s expectation,” Spoelstra said. “Our plan with him was a little more specific, to get the balance of strength of his legs up to par. When our training staff and medical staff feel he can, he’ll take the next step.”

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