MIAMI — Dwyane Wade will miss his ninth straight game Friday night when the Miami Heat meet the Indiana Pacers in a showdown pivotal to deciding the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
Wade (hamstring) and center Greg Oden (back) have not played since an 84-83 loss at Indiana on March 26.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was asked why Wade’s absence has lasted so long.
"Look around the league with the hamstring histories," Spoelstra said after Miami’s Friday morning shootaround. "These are things that you have to give great attention to detail, a great commitment to get it back to full strength, full conditioning, full everything in all the unpredictable movements that happen.
"There’s no way to guarantee anything. You just don’t want what’s happened to several players around the league. You come back, you feel great, then there’s a setback, and how long does that take?"
Forward Chris Bosh downplayed the notion that the Heat will need time to adjust to playing with Wade after the guard returns.
"We’ve been struggling without him, that’s no secret," Bosh said. "We’re still trying to figure things out without him and make it work. But with him, we can go to a lot of sets that we normally run and have good chemistry with. We can open up the playbook a lot more."
Forward Udonis Haslem, who missed two games (losses to Brooklyn and at Memphis) with a stomach virus, returned for the morning shootaround and was expected to play.
Spoelstra said the availability of center/forward Chris "Birdman" Andersen would be a gametime decision. Andersen has missed two of the past three games with a knee injury.