Dwyane Wade ruled out vs. 76ers

Updated: January 21, 2012, 2:48 PM ET
By Brian Windhorst | ESPN.com

MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade will miss his third consecutive game with a sprained right ankle Saturday when the Miami Heat host the Philadelphia 76ers.

Wade was able to return to practice on Friday but the Heat continue to be cautious. His status for the team's game Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks is the same as it's been for the last week: questionable.

"He's making progress," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We want to make sure he's in great condition and come back without any setbacks."

While they're waiting, Wade and Spoelstra responded to the attention the Heat's 5-0 record without Wade has gotten.

The sample size is small and it's loaded with circumstantial evidence, but the team has seen some of its production improve in games when Wade has been out with injury. The Heat have a 5-4 record with Wade in the lineup.

On his Twitter account Friday, Wade made several references to ESPN's coverage of the trend and joked that the weather and his son's jump shot also improve when he's not around. He said that the media needed some "new material."

"The more I hear about something like that the more it comes officially the theater of the absurd," Spolestra said. "We have a much bigger objective than proving some -- I'll reserve judgment on what I would call people that have the theory that we're better. That's ridiculous."

LeBron James has picked up his scoring with Wade out, averaging four more points a game in the four games he's played with Wade on the bench this season. He said the team is anxious to get Wade back.

"He's a big part of our team and he doesn't let anything get to him," James said. "We know we need him in the long run and everyone in Miami knows that. There's always a story to pick when someone is out or someone is in, but we look forward to his return."

Brian Windhorst covers the Miami Heat for ESPN.com.

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