Wade won't give timetable for return

Updated: 2007-03-20 08:59

Dwyane Wade sat before a bank of microphones on March 5, saying he would need at least two weeks of rehabilitating his dislocated left shoulder before deciding whether to return to the Miami Heat this season.

It's been two weeks. Still, no one knows for sure when the NBA finals MVP will be back.

And if a timetable exists, Wade isn't saying just yet.

"Physically, I'm doing good," Wade said Monday on a conference call to announce his plan for upgrading his old high school gym at Richards High in Oak Lawn, Ill., a Chicago suburb. "I've been working out every day and doing what they're telling me to do. So I'm doing all right."

Somewhat surprisingly, so are the Heat -- who, even without their leading scorer, have rallied nicely to rise in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

Miami lost 97-83 to Orlando on Sunday, a defeat that halted winning streaks of nine straight overall and 14 in a row at home -- both were the longest current runs in the NBA. But even with that defeat, the Heat have gone 10-3 since Wade got hurt.

"I see him on the court every day," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "He seems to be progressing. They're advancing with their drill work and he's got the heavy ball, how high he can get his arms up and stuff. He feels stronger, but we won't know for a while when, exactly, the day will come when he'll start to play -- so we're not even thinking about it right now."

When Wade got hurt, he had two options: Rehab or surgery.

He chose rehab, with the hopes of returning sometime this season, but with the caveat that season-ending surgery remains a possibility if the shoulder doesn't get strong enough to allow him to play. And after one of his first workouts after the rehab regimen started, he realized how difficult getting ready again will be.

"It was rough, and right then, I thought surgery might not have been that bad," Wade said. "It's hard work, but if I can get back, then it'll be worth it to me to go through it all."

Wade was averaging 28.8 points when he got hurt, and at the time, the Heat were on the playoff bubble. But now they're firmly in the mix for an Eastern Conference postseason spot, plus have climbed within one game of Washington in the Southeast Division race.

And teammates, while acknowledging they don't know when it will happen, still insist they expect Wade back.

"With our No. 1 option out, Pat asked me to use my experience and get everyone involved," Heat center Shaquille O'Neal said. "We've got a lot of veterans who know what to do when it's time to step up, and when we get our No. 1 option back we'll be ready."

Wade was not at the event at his high school on Monday because of the rehab schedule, but has been cleared to travel; he accompanied the Heat to the White House for a championship celebration earlier this month.

He's been back on the bench with teammates in recent weeks, but even that provides a reminder of how severe his injury was: Something as simple as clapping his hands is still difficult because of the compromised range of motion in his shoulder.

"It's always hard not to get on the court and not to do something that you love doing, especially at this time of the year," Wade said. "This is the exciting part of the season, going into the playoffs. It's hard, but my team is playing well."

Top Sports News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours