LeBron James: 'Dwyane Wade absence tough to fill'

Miami Heat forward LeBron James says that teammate Dwyane Wade's absences with knee soreness are hurting the team.

LeBron James has said that the Miami Heat have found it difficult to replace Dwyane Wade in their last three games.

The guard, who has been plagued with knee injuries throughout his career, has missed the last three games for the NBA champions with persistent knee soreness.

His teammate told ESPN: "With some of the guys being in and out, and with the concern with D-Wade, it's been tough on all of us trying to fill that. We've just got to be able to do a little bit more consistently, and go in with the mindset sometimes that he's not playing instead of playing.

"I'm not a doctor. I'm only a player, man. I don't know the [therapy] program he's on. I do know that his knee, if he's feeling good, he's going to play. If he's not feeling good, he doesn't play. For me as one of the leaders on this team, I've got to make sure the guys that are prepared to play are ready to play. When D-Wade is ready to come back, then that's what it is.

"I can say from a rhythm standpoint, it's kind of hurt us, and we're a team that's built on rhythm, built on chemistry, and we've had so many lineup changes, so many different guys in and out with injuries that it's kind of hurt our performance. We don't like to use it as a crutch or as an excuse."

Wade has missed 12 of the Heat's 42 games this season, but averages 18.9 points when he is able to play.

Miami Heat's Chris Bosh at a news conference on July 17, 2013
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