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.
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.
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.