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Haslem close to Heat return

March 29, 2011
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

MIAMI (AP) - Udonis Haslem grabbed a basketball, leaped toward the rim and dunked with two hands, hanging on the basket for a few moments afterward.

For Haslem, it's significant progress. A week ago, he couldn't come close to doing that.

Haslem's recovery from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his foot is now in its fifth month, but some signs suggest he may be on pace to make his long-awaited return to the Miami Heat lineup before the regular season ends.

Originally, Haslem was targeting a return to the court by late March, but is taking a decidedly more-cautious approach.

"It's not hard because it's the smart decision," Haslem said. "This injury is a little different, so I have to approach it a little differently than I have in the past. Having so much time off, I had time to research the injury and learn more about it and understand it a little bit."

That being said, he took a significant step Monday.

Miami typically leaves injured and rehabilitating players at home when venturing out on road trips, so recovery schedules are undisturbed. With virtually the entire Heat training staff accompanying the team on a four-game swing that starts Tuesday in Cleveland, Haslem will travel with the club for the first time since being injured in November.

Haslem was averaging 8.0 points and 8.2 rebounds when he got hurt.

Injured guard Mario Chalmers (sprained knee) also is recovering and expected on the road trip. Barring any late changes, it is the first time this 15-man Heat roster is together outside of Miami.



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