POSTED: Dec 7, 2013 2:51 PM ET
UPDATED: Dec 7, 2013 9:05 PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Dwyane Wade has already missed more games because of nagging knee issues than he would have liked. Then an illness kept him out of Miami's most recent game, prolonging the frustration for him early this season.
Wade returned to the starting lineup on Saturday night against Minnesota after missing the previous two games, one because of his knees and the other because of illness. He's missed five games this season already, and he's not happy about it.
"All of it's frustration," Wade said. "Everyone wants to be 100 percent every day. But it's a part of the game. Everyone deals with it in their own way."
The Heat were 11-2 in games Wade missed last season, but are 2-3 this year. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is trying to manage the stress on Wade's knees by resting him as much as possible when the soreness creeps up. The Heat have started Ray Allen, James Jones and Roger Mason Jr. in Wade's spot, but the results have been uneven.
Of course, Wade knows it's a long season, and the priority has to be getting his body as healthy as possible for the playoffs. The Heat are still in fine shape, entering the game against the Wolves at 14-5, right on the heels of the Indiana Pacers (17-2) for best record in the East.
"The only thing I can focus on is when I'm able to get back on the court and go out there and help my team win," Wade said.
The Heat were missing Michael Beasley because of a strained left hamstring.
The Wolves were without star forward Kevin Love, who left the team Thursday to mourn the passing of his grandmother. Luc Mbah a Moute started in Love's place for the Wolves.
After missing the past two games, Wade said he expected to be a little winded early, but was just happy to be back out with his teammates to help them out of their mini-slump.
"Got a good couple days to recover," Wade said. "Now I'm going to have to get out there and try to run it out of me early. It's going to be rough early."