Dwyane Wade is still weighing his options. The Miami Heat doesn't have the same luxury.

If Wade has surgery to repair his dislocated left shoulder, last season's NBA Finals MVP won't return this season. If Wade chooses rehabilitation and rest, he may return in six weeks, perhaps with 10 games or so left.

But if Miami cannot find a way to win without him, the whole discussion is moot.

The Heat is only one game ahead of New Jersey for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, has struggled mightily without Wade and his 28.8 points per game this season, and knows another extended slump could prove to be the end of its run as NBA champions.

"There's one constant about this game: The games are going to continue to come. So we've got to be ready to play, no matter what," Heat G Eddie Jones said. "We hope the best for him. Hopefully he comes back quick. But the games are going to come and we've got to play without him."

Wade hasn't talked about the injury since the shoulder popped out when he collided with the Rockets' Shane Battier on Wednesday night. He wasn't at yesterday's practice, the Heat's first since Wade was hurt.

The Heat (26-28) hosts the Cavaliers today, visits the Knicks tomorrow, is scheduled to meet President Bush at the White House on Tuesday and play the Wizards on Wednesday.

· 'Z' IS BACK: Cavaliers C Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who missed the last four games to tend to family health problems, practiced yesterday and is expected to play at Miami today, the team said.

Sasha Pavlovic, who has become a key player for the Cavaliers off the bench, will miss his second straight game because of flulike symptoms.

-- From News Services