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Sunday, February 20, 2011
Updated: February 21, 10:47 AM ET
Dwyane Wade exits but says ankle OK

By Michael Wallace
ESPN.com

LOS ANGELES -- After leaving in the third quarter of Sunday's All-Star Game with a sprained right ankle, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade said he would have pushed through the discomfort had it been a regular-season game, and plans to be in the lineup Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings.

"It was an All-Star Game," Wade said of his decision not to return. "If it were a regular game, I would have tied my shoes up a little tighter and gone back out there. But I didn't want to do too much."

Instead, Wade sat out and watched the East's rally fall short as the West held on for a 148-143 victory at Staples Center behind strong efforts from Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.

Bryant was named the game's MVP after finishing with 37 points and 14 rebounds. Durant added 34 points to help the West hold on despite a triple-double from LeBron James, who had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the East.

The Heat have much bigger concerns than the outcome of Sunday's game. Wade's health, which has been an issue in recent weeks because of various nagging injuries, was the priority. But the Heat didn't escape without a scare.

Wade aggravated the ankle with about five minutes left in the third quarter when he landed awkwardly on West guard Deron Williams' foot. Wade immediately reached toward his ankle and began to limp. East coach Doc Rivers called a timeout with 5:04 left in the quarter to replace Wade, who did not return and finished with 14 points, four rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes.

Wade said he will continue to get treatment on the ankle over the next two days while downplaying the significance of the injury. He also said he did not require treatment during All-Star Weekend leading up to Sunday's game.

"I have pretty strong ankles, so this is nothing new for me," Wade said. "I just tweaked it a little bit and went right to the bench. I've responded well off turned ankles before. The last time I did it, I came back the next game against Indiana, and I think I did all right."

Wade was referring to last Tuesday's game against the Indiana Pacers, when he scored 41 points in a Heat victory two days after he initially hurt his right ankle in a loss to Boston. Wade initially sprained the ankle when he landed awkwardly after shooting a jumper over Celtics forward Paul Pierce.

The Heat's schedule resumes with a practice Monday evening in advance of Tuesday's home game against the Kings. Miami then plays a back-to-back set, with games Thursday in Chicago and Friday at home against Washington. Wade, the most valuable player of last year's All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium, has played through a series of injuries this season, including a bruised knee and sprains of both wrists.

But after seeing how his Heat teammates performed Sunday, Wade has a healthy outlook on the second half of the season. Bosh made 7 of 10 shots for 14 points and added five rebounds in 21 minutes. Miami's three players combined for 57 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists on Sunday for the East.

"Everybody had a good time, so that's all that matters," Bosh said. "When it comes down to it, you want to win. You don't play this game just to get smacked around, lose, smile and say, 'Good game.' "

Wade said the performance James put on, especially in the fourth quarter, was on par with the way James has played all season for the Heat. In past years, Wade, James and Bosh would go their separate ways after teaming up in All-Star games.

But that's no longer the case, Wade said.

"Man, I'm glad he's going back with me," Wade said of James. "He's a freight train when he gets going. He dominates games. So like I said, I'm glad he's getting back on that plane and going back to Miami with me."

Michael Wallace covers the NBA for ESPN.com.