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MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade will make his preseason debut for the Miami Heat on Thursday against Detroit after missing Monday's victory against Atlanta with soreness in his legs.
The Heat have been closely monitoring Wade's conditioning in training camp and have given him leeway to determine when he's available for preseason games or if he'll focus on extensive practice workouts.
Wade has been on a rigid workout regimen for about two months after addressing injuries to both knees that limited his play late last season and into to the playoffs during the Heat's run to a second consecutive championship.
The Heat practiced Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena before leaving for a back-to-back set that starts in Detroit and continues against the Charlotte Bobcats in Kansas City. Wade wouldn't rule out playing in both games, but said Wednesday he will continue to assess his status day by day.
"I expect to play against Detroit, and then I'll take it from there," Wade said. "That's the way I'm approaching this."
Wade was expected to play Monday against Atlanta, with coach Erik Spoelstra listing him among the starters about 90 minutes before the game. But Wade later informed Spoelstra he wouldn't play and opted to rest his legs. But Wade was back on the court for Tuesday's practice and then also went through an extensive conditioning session with assistant coaches that included a low-post workout.
Wade said Tuesday that his work in practices is more vital to him at this point than playing spot minutes in preseason games. He also said he wasn't ready for the Oct. 29 season opener against Chicago but was getting on pace.
Spoelstra said he would determine who plays Thursday once the team arrives in Detroit. LeBron James said he is willing to play in both games this week and that he probably needs the work to get his legs in condition after two rusty performances in Monday's win against Atlanta and during Sunday night's Red and White team scrimmage.
"It was much more competitive," Spoelstra said of Wednesday's workout. "We went back to a little bit more of a training camp-style practice. That's why you can see a bit of the fatigue right now. It was a good day of work."