- Tom Haberstroh, ESPN Staff Writer
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"[Wade] was a little bit sore after [Sunday's win over Charlotte]," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We've been working with him so we decided tonight would be a good [night] to rest."
Speaking before the game, James said his bothersome back had improved since Sunday's game.
"I feel better, I'm in the lineup," James deadpanned.
James said the Heat aren't concerned about filling Wade's void.
"It's something we're all comfortable with because we've had so many guys in and out of the lineup," James said. "In Dwyane's case, he's on a different program than everyone else, making sure that he continues to make sure that knee is healthy enough to go for the long haul."
This will be Wade's fourth day off of the season. The Heat did not cite a specific injury, but they are taking precaution after Wade underwent an offseason procedure on his troublesome knee that limited him in the playoffs.
The Heat's upcoming slate has them playing six games in 10 days, starting with the Pistons on Tuesday. A four-game road trip begins on Thursday against the Chicago Bulls.
Heat reserve guard James Jones will start in Wade's place, the third time he has done so this season. Jones has averaged 12.0 points in his two starts, both resulting in Heat victories. Though he'll be earning his third start of the season, it will only be his fifth appearance.
The Heat are 2-1 in the three games that Wade has missed. Wade is averaging just 18.5 points per game and has posted a 21.0 player efficiency rating, both career lows since his rookie season. Contributing to that low scoring total is his reduced playing time, which has dropped to 33.7 minutes per game. Wade is shooting a career-high 53.1 percent from the floor and averaging 5.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds.
The Heat have gotten off to a franchise-best start with a 14-3 record, good for second in the Eastern Conference behind the Indiana Pacers.
13hMatt Walks, ESPN.com