MIAMI Doctors say Dwyane Wade is ready to play. Wade isn't completely convinced quite yet.
So that's why the star Miami Heat guard said Saturday that he doesn't have a specific game in mind for his return to the lineup, following nearly six months of rehabilitating his surgically repaired left shoulder and left knee.
The reason: He wants to make absolutely certain that his shoulder is ready for the rigors of NBA play.
"That's why I'm not coming back tomorrow," Wade said Saturday at an event promoting his newest Converse shoe. "I'm cleared, but I know that will be on my mind. It's not like I'm not going to think about it at all, but when I'm on the court I just want to be thinking about the game."
Wade had surgery May 15 to repair both a dislocated left shoulder an injury suffered in February and which kept him sidelined for about two months and relieve pain from a condition commonly called "jumper's knee." His knee hurt so much at the end of last season, Wade would wince while trying to dunk.
He was cleared to return Thursday by Dr. Harlan Selesnick of the Heat medical staff, and will participate in his first full-contact practice of the season Monday morning.
Wade has been doing non-contact work in team practices, plus has done other drills individually to try to speed up the process.
"I wish I knew how many practices it would take to get ready," Wade said. "I would tell everybody if I knew."
Wade will likely give the team no more than one day notice before deciding to play. Barring no setbacks, there's a sense the 2006 finals MVP could be ready in time for Miami's game at New York on Nov. 11 or at Charlotte on Nov. 13.
Either way, he won't be sidelined much longer.
"I'm excited. I'm excited to get back in the mix, getting back to playing the game I love to play," Wade said. "Getting back to my teammates, that's the most important thing."
Wade appeared at the Overtown Youth Center in downtown Miami, giving away about 150 pairs of the shoes that bear his name to children. He also unveiled a program called "Open Gym," where time on basketball courts will be provided to kids in an effort to get more of them involved in the game.
"It's like how I started playing basketball in an open gym, unorganized basketball, unstructured, just really playing in the love of the game," Wade said.
SHARPTON BACKS OFF THREATS: Al Sharpton and his National Action Network backed off their threats of protests at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, satisfied with Isiah Thomas' stance on derogatory language toward women.
CAVS' MARSHALL SHELVED: Cavaliers forward Donyell Marshall will miss Sunday's game against the Phoenix Suns because of a sprained right wrist. Marshall is listed as day-to-day as Cleveland begins a six-game road trip, the team said Saturday. He averaged 2.5 points in the first two games. Cavaliers guard Eric Snow has been out since the preseason with a sprained knee. Marshall and Snow will travel with the team during the road trip.
PECHEROV OUT 6 WEEKS: Washington Wizards forward Oleksiy Pecherov will be sidelined six weeks because of a broken right ankle. Pecherov was injured last weekend and the team originally said he was expected to miss one or two weeks, but the prognosis was changed Friday after additional tests. The 7-footer was a 2006 first-round draft pick who played in his native Ukraine last season. He averaged eight points and five rebounds this preseason.