MIAMI — For at least one more day, Dwyane Wade will remain in court – instead of on-court with the Miami Heat.
Wade will miss practice with the Heat on Wednesday, instead remaining in Chicago for his third day of testimony in a trial that will decide the custody of his two young sons.
And unless schedules change, Wade's next practice with the Heat may not be until Sunday – just two days before Miami opens the season in Boston against the Celtics.
The team isn't yet certain when Wade will return, officially listing him as doubtful for the final two preseason games, in Atlanta on Thursday and against Orlando at Tampa, Fla. on Friday.
Given that he won't be at practice Wednesday, it now seems highly likely that Wade's next game will be in the regular season.
"Hopefully, by the end of the week, we're in the zone where all we've got to do is just place the last piece of the puzzle in, instead of taking all the pieces out and then trying to re-do the whole puzzle again," Heat forward LeBron James said. "It's up to us, the guys that are in here, to make sure that when D-Wade comes back it's the last piece, we plug him in and the puzzle's finished."
Miami did not practice Tuesday. The Heat work out Wednesday morning before flying to Atlanta, and it's possible Wade could rejoin the team there, assuming his on-the-stand obligations are complete.
In Chicago, the custody trial also was off because of scheduling issues. Teammates have been in contact with Wade throughout his absence, sometimes merely to try and keep his spirits upbeat.
"My goal is to be back and healthy for the beginning of the season," Wade said in Chicago on Monday.
The custody issue has weighed heavily on Wade for some time. He and his now-ex-wife Siohvaughn separated about three years ago, but didn't have their highly contentious divorce finalized until this summer. An attorney appointed to represent the interest of their two sons has recommended the court in Chicago to award custody to the 2006 NBA finals MVP, though the court will make its own decision.
Originally, the custody trial was scheduled to end before Heat training camp started.
Compounding Wade's preseason issues is a strained right hamstring that is apparently healing.
Wade has been working out for several days, even posting some videos of his drills online Monday to give fans a glimpse at his ability to move around – something he couldn't do without a limp after aggravating the injury 3 minutes, 17 seconds into Miami's preseason opener on Oct. 5.
"We haven't been at 100 percent for the whole preseason due to injury, Dwyane having to sit out, Eddie House having to sit out," Heat forward Chris Bosh said. "We haven't really been at our full strength. I think we're just going along and (progressing). We're doing what we're supposed to do. The rotations are pretty solid. We have some things to clean up, but it's difficult."