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Friday, May 3, 2013
Dwyane Wade planning to play

By Michael Wallace
ESPN.com

MIAMI –- Dwyane Wade, who has been nursing a bruised knee, practiced Friday for the first time this week and plans to play in Game 1 of the Miami Heat's next playoff series.

Wade said Friday that the Heat's extended break has allowed him to focus exclusively on getting rest and treatment for his right knee, which has endured multiple bruises and has limited his play for nearly two months.

The Heat have not played since they completed a four-game sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday in the first round of the playoffs. Wade sat out of Game 4 after still feeling sore following the previous game.

Wade also was held out of two practices this week as the Heat await the winner of the Nets-Bulls series, which will be decided Saturday in Game 7 in Brooklyn.

"Right now, I'm taking it day to day, and I'm not going to jump ahead of myself," Wade said Friday. "I'm going to think positive. [Friday] was my first day back on the basketball court. We'll see how it feels tomorrow."

Both Wade and coach Erik Spoelstra stopped short of publicly saying for certain that the star guard would be available when the Heat return to action Monday for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. But Wade told ESPN.com he'll be fine by Monday and expects to play.

Spoelstra said he considered it a good sign Wade was able to get through all of what was a "training camp practice" Friday that included scrimmaging and extensive conditioning sessions for about 90 minutes.

But the more revealing signs might come Saturday, with Wade facing a second workout in as many days, barring any overnight setbacks.

"He was able to do a great deal of extensive rehab treatment, and also work on his conditioning the last few days," Spoelstra said. "He's still day to day. It's a step forward. Until we know how he feels tomorrow, we'll see."

Wade averaged 13.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists in three games against Milwaukee. He had the worst playoff shooting performance of his career when he went 1-for-12 from the field and finished with four points in Game 3. But Wade affected the game in other ways with 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 blocks on a night he was also treated for a bruised right forearm.

Wade initially bruised his knee March 6 against Orlando, and suffered two bruises on the same knee in games during the following two weeks. He missed eight of 10 games in the final weeks of the regular season, and said he didn't expect to be close to 100 percent healthy for the playoffs.

Playing through the discomfort has been something Wade has grown accustomed to the past few seasons.

"I'm not here to harp on it, but it's just good to get back on the court," Wade said Friday. "I can't wait until tomorrow to get back out there another day. You've just got to play through it. This time of the year, everyone has something they're dealing with. No matter what I'm dealing with, thank god I'm able to get out there on the court and play."

Wade then referenced Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook and Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant as two key players who were lost for the postseason due to injuries.

"This game has lost great player[s] so far this postseason, where they couldn't play," Wade said. "No matter what it is, my objective is to be on the court and help my teammates in whatever capacity I can and go from there."

But Wade admitted that he doesn't know what to expect with his knee from one day to the next, and that it has created a psychological challenge after dealing with an injury to his left knee during last season's playoff run.

"When you're dealing with something after games, you're hoping it doesn't get any worse, you're hoping it doesn't get more sore," Wade said. "But with the injury I deal with, you just never know from day to day. You just have to get that into your mental [state]. It's in my mental now, that no matter what, that's what I'm dealing with. You just try to do what you can between games and when game time comes, hopefully you can get out there and be productive."