The Miami Heat has been playing great basketball since the NBA All-Star break. Guard/Forward Joe Johnson has fit seamlessly into the starting lineup. He along with rookie guard Josh Richardson have almost completely reversed the perimeter issues the team has been dealing with throughout the season. Forward Luol Deng has been more productive since being put in the four spot. Center Hassan Whiteside has even formed a defensive bench trio with Richardson and rookie forward Justise Winslow while still getting his minutes and stats.
All if this has been done with forward Chris Bosh being sidelined with blood clots in his left calf. Even with Miami’s success the possibility of Bosh returning has been hovering over the team’s head. On Wednesday Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reported that Bosh has been taking blood thinners as recently as this week but still hopes to return to the Heat lineup.
The normal procedure of dealing with blood clots is to take blood thinners for three to six months while avoiding contact sports in that time. In Bosh’s case that would mean being out of the remainder of a season for the second year in a row, but he has been consulting with various doctors weighting the possibility of being off the thinners sooner to make a return possible. He has also kept himself active with the team via workouts with coaching staff, sitting in on film sessions, and being at American Airlines Arena during home games either from a private location or recently the Heat bench. Bosh has also been more open about his status with fans via press releases and on social media.
Miami for its part, while not ruling out a return for Bosh this season, has been very hesitant about the prospect should the slightest risk of clots returning be present. Ultimately the final decision on Bosh does rest with the team and it’s looking to be a complicated one due to timing.
The Heat have only 11 games left in the season with the third and sixth seeds (Miami currently being fifth) in the Eastern Conference separated by only a half game in the playoff standing. That leaves little time to fully integrate Bosh back into a rotation that has sped up in his absence. Either Deng or Whiteside will see their minutes and role change to accommodate Bosh depending on if he stays at the four spot or gets shifted to the five.
Miami as an overall team is better with Bosh playing, but with little time to do adjustments and his overall health being at stake the decision by the Heat whether or not to bring him back will be hard to make.