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LeBron expected to play when Heat open preseason

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MIAMI (AP)

LeBron James will be among the Miami Heat players expected in the lineup on Sunday when the reigning NBA champions open their preseason schedule at the Atlanta Hawks.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said point guard Mario Chalmers and center Joel Anthony, both dealing with minor injuries, will not play Sunday. Most everyone else would be under consideration for at least some minutes against the Hawks, including guard Dwyane Wade, who will be listed as ''day-to-day'' for the entire preseason while he works his way back from offseason knee surgery.

''I feel good,'' Wade said. ''That'll be coach's decision. But I'm going to try to come in and do what I've done every day, get to the gym and work out and see how I feel from there.''

James said it would have been ''a little bit'' awkward to sit out the first exhibition of the season for the Heat, who will be on the floor against an opponent for the first time since beating Oklahoma City in Game 5 of last season's NBA Finals.

''The Atlanta fans, they'll be happy be about it,'' James said. ''Those Atlanta fans, they'll be happy that Spo is making me active. It'll be fun. Whatever I play, I don't know how many minutes I'll play, but the minutes I'm out there I will produce.''

Also expected to be among those in the Miami lineup on Sunday: Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. If they play, Allen and Lewis would be making their Heat game debuts, albeit debuts that won't ultimately count for much.

''If it's up to Spo I'd probably play all eight preseason games,'' James said. ''But it'll be fun to get out there with some of my new teammates, get out there with Ray, get out there with Rashard tomorrow and get out with the guys that I left the floor with in Game 5.''

After Sunday's game, the Heat will depart for a week in China and two games against the Los Angeles Clippers. Spoelstra said everyone on the training camp roster is going to be on the China trip.

Spoelstra indicated James and Bosh might not play long in the first exhibition game, with a planned 14-hour flight to China set to follow.

''Not extended minutes,'' Spoelstra said.

Jarvis Varnado was limited by what Spoelstra said was a mild hamstring strain and worked out on the side of the court.

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Follow Tim Reynolds on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds

Tagged: Heat, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, LeBron James

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