Dwyane Wade eyes return vs. Bulls

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade said he hopes to return to action Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls after missing his second straight game with a bruised right knee.

Wade confirmed prior to Monday's game against the Orlando Magic that he underwent an MRI on the knee. The All-Star had an extensive treatment session with team trainers in the Heat's locker room in the hours before the game.

The Heat won their 27th straight game, the second-longest winning streak in league history and six shy of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers' run of 33 in a row, by beating the Orlando Magic 108-94 on Monday night.

For Wade, who has had problems with both knees in recent seasons, getting healthy has been a priority over helping his team pursue history the past few days. The Heat's second-leading scorer also missed Sunday's game against Charlotte one day after the MRI revealed no structural damage.

Addressing the injury for the first time with the media, Wade said he initially bruised his knee on March 3 in a victory against Orlando. He aggravated the bruise a week ago in a win at Boston.

"[The MRI] was just to make sure there was nothing wrong," Wade said. "I knew it wasn't, but I was just trying to be smart. And it helps you right here, too [mentally], when you know there's no damage done to your knee, and it is what you thought it was.

"It's just a bruise. I understand that when you have something that's lingering, it can affect other areas of your body."

Wade said he considered sitting out as early as last Friday's game against Detroit, but decided to play through the discomfort. But when the pain didn't subside as quickly as Wade hoped, he met with the team's medical staff again and the decision was made to rest him for both games of the Heat's back-to-back set against Charlotte and Orlando.

"He is making progress," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He is starting to feel better. We want to be proactive and take care of it right now, and see how he feels tomorrow. But he has been getting a lot of treatment and is feeling better each day."

With 12 regular-season games remaining, Wade doesn't want to limp into the playoffs the way he did last season as he dealt with severe soreness in his left knee. Wade eventually had that knee drained during the Heat's second-round playoff series against Indiana and ultimately had arthroscopic surgery to repair ligament damage last summer after the Heat won the championship.

Wade had spent the first three months of this season receiving treatment on his left knee. Once it strengthened, Wade's production increased and he was named Eastern Conference player of the week early this month. Now, he's committed to taking a cautious approach with the right knee.

"It just wouldn't go away," Wade said of the recent soreness. "I've been dealing with it for about two weeks. Some days it feels better than others. I've dealt with certain things. I know how the body works. Once you start compensating for something, you mess up another area. And I don't need that going down the stretch. We don't need that as a team."

Wade is shooting the best field-goal percentage of his career and his averaging 21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 64 games. Mike Miller replaced Wade in the starting lineup each of the past two games.

Heat center Chris Bosh said it's smart for Wade -- or any other player in the locker room -- to take time off if needed, regardless of the team's recent run of success.

"We know what's most important," Bosh said. "We've been blessed this year to have a healthy season so far. And if he needs to take some rest his knees or whatever to make sure his ailments are good, then he shouldn't hesitate to do it."

Wade looks forward to the chance to return when the Heat visit his hometown in Chicago to face the Bulls.

"Right now, it's fun playing with these guys," Wade said. "But I decided these two, this back-to-back, would be a good one [to rest]. Hopefully the pain will kind of go away a little bit. Hopefully, I feel better by Wednesday and I can get back out there with the team."