House cleared for return, could play Thurs.

MIAMI -- Heat guard Eddie House, who has been sidelined for the entire preseason recovering from shoulder surgery, was cleared by team doctors to return to practice on Tuesday.

If House doesn't have any setbacks in his first contact practice Wednesday he will likely make his debut Thursday night when the Heat play in Atlanta against the Hawks. House said last week he had been targeting the Hawks game for his return.

The 3-point shooting specialist had a torn labrum in his left (non-shooting) shoulder repaired in June. The 10-year veteran averaged 7.3 points in 68 games for the Celtics and Knicks combined last season.

House's return is much needed as the Heat are banged up on the perimeter. Dwyane Wade will not play in the final two preseason game as he recovers from a hamstring injury and has also been away for his children's custody hearings in Chicago. Mike Miller sprained his left ankle against the Bobcats Monday night and joined Mario Chalmers, who has been battling ankle issues all of the preseason, on the sidelines.

Yet the Heat believe they'll be at full strength for next Tuesday's season opener in Boston.