Shane Battier will miss his third straight game on Tuesday when the Miami Heat visit the Washington Wizards, but he hopes to return Thursday against the New York Knicks.

Battier hasn't played since Nov. 24 because of a sprained MCL in his right knee. Rashard Lewis has started for the Heat in Battier's absence.

Still, Battier isn't sure if he will be cleared by the Heat's training staff on Thursday and knows the importance of staying healthy over the course of the season.

“It’s a process,” Battier said. “At age 34, you don’t heal as quickly as you once did. I want to be out there with my guys, but the bigger picture is that we want to make sure we have our health for later in the season.”