- Michael Wallace, ESPN Staff Writer
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Wade has not played since he left in the third quarter of last Saturday's game in Charlotte to receive treatment on his right knee. He has been battling soreness in both knees since last season's playoffs and was limited throughout the Heat's run to their second consecutive title.
After missing two games this week to focus on strengthening his knees, Wade insisted he's ready to play.
"I've been able to do things on the court and in the weight room," Wade said after Friday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. "It's good to be able to get rest also. It's been a good week, and I'm excited to get back on the court [Saturday]. I had all intentions on playing [earlier], but the smart thing was not to, and I think it worked out for the better for myself and for my team."
The Heat routed the Atlanta Hawks and Magic by a combined 44 points on consecutive nights without Wade. They will look to extend a five-game win streak when they play Orlando for the second time in three days.
Wade clarified the extent of his knee issues Friday, saying he's still dealing with a bone bruise on his right kneecap that's lingered since last spring. It's the knee Wade had a shock-wave therapy procedure on midway through the offseason. He also undergoes treatment and conditioning for tendinitis in his left knee, which required surgery two summers ago.
"To be able to lift and to be able to make it stronger, you have to strengthen all the other muscles around it," Wade said. "It's still a process. It's still something I'm going to be working out and dealing with for a few months."
Coach Erik Spoelstra has said the Heat will continue to take a day-to-day approach with Wade's status and evaluate him before each game. But Spoelstra said he's been pleased with Wade's progress the past few days, which included two weight-training and conditioning sessions leading into Friday's full practice.
"As long as he's making those strides -- when you look at it big picture, week to week, he's coming along very well," Spoelstra said. "These things take time. Sometimes it's not consistent with how he feels from one day to the next. But he is making progress."
LeBron James said Wade "looked good" in practice and that he expects to have him back on the court. Wade is averaging 16.7 points, 5.2 assists and 4.7 rebounds over 33.3 minutes through nine games this season.
Wade acknowledged again Friday he shouldn't have played last week in Charlotte, a night after he logged 34 minutes in one of best games of the season in a victory against Dallas. He had previously avoided playing both games of back-to-back sets since the start of the preseason, but he made himself available because the Heat were without Ray Allen (illness) and Mario Chalmers (one-game, league-mandated suspension).
Wade missed six of seven shots and finished with a season-low four points along with an aggravated right knee.
"I have to continue to be smart [and] I wasn't smart in the Charlotte game," said Wade, who has missed three of the Heat's 12 games. "I shouldn't have played that night. I knew it. But you live and you learn. You also have to see what your body can do at this time. So it was a good thing as well."
5hChris Broussard and Marc Stein