Heat notebook

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade misses seventh game in a row as a precaution

 
 
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and forward LeBron James watch the game from the bench as the team plays the Minnesota Timberwolves at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on April 4, 2014.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and forward LeBron James watch the game from the bench as the team plays the Minnesota Timberwolves at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on April 4, 2014.
Charles Trainor Jr / Staff Photo

Wednesday: Heat at Grizzlies

When/where: 8 p.m., FedEx Forum, Memphis.

TV/radio: Sun Sports; WAXY 790 AM, 104.3 FM, WRTO 98.3 FM (Spanish).

Series: Heat leads 20-14.

Of note: Trailing the Phoenix Suns by one game in the Western Conference standings for the eighth and final playoff seed, the Memphis Grizzlies desperately need a win. The Heat, meanwhile, is just trying to remain healthy for the beginning of the postseason. A loss to the Grizzlies could turn the Heat’s home game on Friday against the Indiana Pacers a must-win scenario for the Eastern Conference’s top seed. Dwyane Wade (hamstring) is doubtful. Udonis Haslem (illness) did not travel with the team. Shane Battier started for Haslem against the Nets on Tuesday. Center Greg Oden (back spasms) remains inactive.


jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com

Dwyane Wade is close to returning to the court, but was held out of his seventh game in a row on Tuesday as a precaution.

Wade, who injured his hamstring March 26 against Indiana, put in extra hours in the training room and on the court Monday and wanted to play against the Brooklyn Nets, but the Heat’s trainers and coach Erik Spoelstra remained cautious. Wade, who has missed 26 games this season, might return to the court Wednesday in Memphis, but remains doubtful.

“He really pushed it the last two days and came in this morning and really pushed it,” Spoelstra said. “He is making progress and making, actually, significant progress, but he’s just not quite there.

“We’re going to go into it day by day like we usually do. I like the progress he has made. It’s day-to-day.”

Wade’s hamstring strain came after rushing back from a sore Achilles tendon. Most of the games he has missed this season have been because of soreness in his knees.

No worries

The Heat entered its final game of the regular season 0-3 against the Brooklyn Nets, but LeBron James didn’t seem too worried about the trend. The Heat has lost season series to teams in the past — Bulls and Pacers — and defeated them in the playoffs.

“I’ve had success versus a team in the regular season and lost to them in the playoffs,” James said. “Once the playoffs come around, obviously you want to play well during the regular season and every team you go against you want to beat, but there’s the difference in preparing for someone in 24 hours and preparing for someone in 72 hours and knowing you’re going to see them for at least four games.”

Still, James acknowledged that the Nets “definitely had our number” this season.

“They’ve slowed us down offensively and create a lot of matchup problems with so many athletic wings and big wings,” James said. “Offensively they’ve made us think about what we’re doing and turn the ball over.”

James said the focus right now is simply “continuing to play the same basketball we have the last couple of weeks, and that’s our motivation — to not take a step backwards with the playoffs less than two weeks away.”

The Heat could match up with the Nets in the second round of the playoffs.

Going viral

Udonis Haslem was away from the team on Tuesday with a virus. Spoelstra said he hoped it wasn’t the same illness that forced Ray Allen to miss a week. Allen was briefly checked himself into the hospital last week for dehydration. For obvious reasons, a nasty stomach bug running the through the locker room could be a serious concern this time of year. Haslem was not expected to travel with the team to Memphis.

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