Saturday, April 6, 2013
LeBron James' 3-game break over
By Michael Wallace
MIAMI -- LeBron James returned to the Miami Heat's starting lineup against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night after a three-game absence, but center Chris Bosh and guard Dwyane Wade were out.
James had been sidelined with a strained hamstring he suffered March 29 in the second half of a win in New Orleans. He was not expected to play his normal minutes against the 76ers, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game.
The Heat have been juggling their primary rotation players for about a week, with James, Wade, Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen all missing recent games with various nagging injuries.
Bosh is the latest to join the injury report. Spoelstra said he's been dealing with soreness in his right knee the past few days after hyperextending it three games ago.
Bosh had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 37 minutes on Friday night against Charlotte. But he informed the training staff after arriving to AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday that he was sore.
Chalmers and Allen have been dealing with ankle sprains. Chalmers returned for Friday's win in Charlotte after a three-game absence, and Allen is expected to play Saturday after sitting out against the Bobcats.
Wade's condition seems to be the biggest concern, with Spoelstra confirming Saturday that the Heat's second-leading scorer still is dealing with swelling in the knee. Wade initially bruised the knee on March 6 against Orlando and aggravated the injury two weeks later in a win against Boston.
After sitting out two games to rest the knee, Wade returned March 27 against Chicago the night the Bulls ended the Heat's 27-game winning streak. Wade also sprained his right ankle during that game when he came down on the foot of Bulls forward Taj Gibson.
Wade played two nights later in New Orleans, but since has been sidelined.
Counting Saturday's game against Philadelphia, Wade will have missed six of the Heat's past eight games. Spoelstra didn't give a timetable for when he expects Wade to return, but he said there was no structural damage to the knee.
"He has to resolve the swelling right now from getting hit in the knee," Spoelstra said. "His body will tell us when we'll play him. He got hit right on top of his knee twice. He was able to resolve it, then get past it. But in the New Orleans game, he got beat up in that game and was on the floor."