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Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh makes Game 5 return after long rehab

Chris Bosh didn’t appear to be too injured when he went down May 13 late in the second quarter of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Indiana Pacers.

Bosh landed awkwardly after a strong dunk, but after being helped up, Bosh went to the line and sank the free throw that came after Roy Hibbert’s foul on the play.

It wouldn’t be long, however, before Bosh left the game for good with what was diagnosed as a abdominal muscle strain.

On Tuesday night, a little more than three weeks after leaving the Heat lineup, Bosh returned.

When he was injured, the Heat didn’t know when he would come back. At one point, Bosh reportedly told teammates they needed to extend their season to the NBA Finals if he was to play again. Coach Erik Spoelstra joked Monday that Bosh said he was ready to come back “10 days ago.”

“These are tough injuries,” Spoelstra said before Tuesday’s game when asked what the original timetable for Bosh’s return was. “You don’t necessarily know. Everyone’s bodies are different with these. It could take three weeks to eight weeks. Twelve weeks. Each person is different, and each injury is slightly different. He responded very well after the first week of treatment.”

As Spoelstra said, there is no hard-and-fast rule on when a player can return from such an injury.

The muscle strain comes around the abdominal wall, making it difficult for a professional athlete to do much of anything until it begins healing. In 2008, Boston’s Kevin Garnett took three weeks to come back from a similar injury; San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili missed a few weeks.

The Heat appears to have been very diligent when it came to Bosh’s rehabilitation, as he wasn’t allowed to do any physical activity early on. When he was allowed to start doing basketball-related work, it came gradually and slowly.

Once Bosh worked out on the AmericanAirlines Arena floor for team president Pat Riley, his timetable accelerated. Last week, he traveled with the team for the first time since being hurt and worked out with the Heat during morning shootaround and walkthroughs on the days of games.

This and that


Mike Miller

was back on the floor in the first quarter after not playing in the second half of Sunday’s overtime loss in Boston. Miller hit a three-pointer in the first to give Miami a 21-13 lead.

“Those are tough decisions in this series,” Spoelstra said about not playing Miller much Sunday. “He’s ready to go. He’s giving us everything he’s got. I don’t think there’s any more that he can give.”

• Miller had a humorous moment in the second period as he got caught in the middle of an argument between Boston coach

Doc Rivers

and referee

Ron Garretson

. Miller, who was between the two to inbound the ball, was the focus of the argument because he drew a charging foul on

Paul Pierce

. Miller had a smile on his face as he listened in.

• The Celtics bench was a big reason why Boston beat Miami in Game 4. Fort Lauderdale’s

Keyon Dooling

scored 10 points and

Mickael Pietrus

blocked two shots.

• Rivers said last year’s Celtics team would have already been knocked out of the playoffs. “We weren’t a team,” he said. “This team is very close, very competitive. They understand

Rajon Rondo

is the leader of the team, and they’ve gotten out of each other’s way with roles. All of the new guys have added a great competitive energy with our team. Early on, when we were losing, I said people were mixing up conditioning with age. People said we’re too old. I said, ‘No, we’re out of shape.’ ”

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