The situation is much different this time.

Last year, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was playing with an injury. This year, he is playing with pain.

Wade returned to the practice court Friday for the first time in nearly a week. It was his first workout since a pre-game warmup before sitting out last Sunday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Although he is listed as "day-to-day," Wade has every intention of playing Game 1 of the second round.

That series will begin at 7 p.m. Monday at AmericanAirlines Arena against the Chicago Bulls or Brooklyn Nets.

"It felt good to get back out there on the court," Wade said. "It was a good step in that direction, first day back out there. That's pretty much it. It is what it is. I'm not here to harp on it. It's just to get back out there on the court."

Wade dealt with right knee soreness for most of the second half of the season. He aggravated it in Game 3 of the Milwaukee series, causing him to miss the following game. It marked the 13th game the Heat had been without Wade this season. He also sat in late December against the Detroit Pistons to serve a one-game suspension.

The health problems aren't as severe as when Wade needed to undergo offseason, left knee surgery last summer. The Heat expect nothing of the sort this time around, with Wade dealing with a bone bruise.

"He's still day-to-day," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We'll see how he feels [Saturday]. This was a step forward. It's a totally different injury [from last year], but we'll see how he feels."

The importance of Friday was Wade's ability to participate in conditioning drills for the first time during his absence. The Heat practiced three days during their week of inactivity, as they await the winner between the Nets and Bulls. Game 7 of their series is Saturday night in Brooklyn.

The something of an intermission was welcome for Wade. It provided ample time to return to closer to 100 percent. He said the only negative is the possibility of its disrupting rhythm.