The plan has been in place for a few days now and now Dwyane Wade looks ready to make his return after an 11-game absence, Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets.
Wade went through a full practice at the NBPA Headquarters in Manhattan and assuming there are no setbacks, he'll be in the lineup Saturday afternoon with three regular-season games remaining.
How many minutes he plays and whether he's starts or not is to be determined, but Wade certainly sounds like a man who's preparing to play as opposed to modeling in his inactive threads.
"Got another good day in so obviously I'm ahead of schedule from the diagnosis when it first happened," Wade said. "But the final decision comes from trainers and coaches, if they're comfortable with me playing."
CSNChicago.com reported Saturday was the target date for Wade to return from his fractured right elbow, which is at least a week ahead of schedule from when he injured himself on March 15 against the Memphis Grizzlies when getting tangled up with Zach Randolph in the second half of the Bulls' 98-91 loss.
"Dwyane participated in everything, we did a little scrimmage in the end and participated fully," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He looked good. We'll head back to the hotel now, everybody will sit down as a staff and make a decision on where we go from here."
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Wade said the coaching staff and trainers have to make the final determination on whether he's ready to come back and Hoiberg said the initial decision has to be made from the trainers.
"I don't know. It comes from them," Wade said. "They gotta get together. They just keep asking me how I feel and I kind of through this whole process I know my body really well, so I've been communicating with them through this. I guess they'll out their minds together and see if they think I'm ready."
In his mind, the decision has been made.
"I feel like I'm ready to get back out there and try and play. They've watched me practice, so they've seen things that I haven't," Wade said. "Obviously by sitting and watching, did I protect it? I don't know. I tried to just go out there and play. I feel comfortable, I'm not feeling any pain, so we'll see. Hopefully they'll let me get out there tomorrow and play a little bit, try and get back in the flow a little bit, and also try and help the team make this push that they've been doing an amazing job of to try and get into the playoffs."
And of course, being the prideful player that he is, Wade would like to start and gradually increase his minutes with the playoffs starting eight days from now.
"I would like to start. But it's Coach's decision," Wade said. "I would like Coach to play me. So whatever he decides to do is what I'm going to do. This right here is about our team. It's not about me. I just want to make sure that I come in and help this team continue to win."
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The Bulls have gone 7-4 without Wade, with some surprising wins and more recently, dealing with a lighter schedule that will continue to the regular-season finale Wednesday against the same Nets team they'll face on Saturday.
In his absence, Wade has witnessed Jimmy Butler take the reins even more while also seeing Rajon Rondo take control and Nikola Mirotic emerge on the other inside of maddening inconsistency.
Wade called Butler a "Franchise player" and said Butler has been playing like a top-5 player since he got hurt. For the team, Wade seems impressed with the Bulls' resilience.
"Finding a way to win, that's the one thing I've seen," Wade said. "Sometimes people say it's ugly basketball. But I just feel like we're finding ways to win. In this league, you have to do that, especially right here, right now. You look at the schedule and you say, ‘Well, they got the easiest schedule.' But we're playing against NBA teams. We're playing against guys who are playing very free. When guys are playing free, it's even harder to play against them."