The basketball season likely is over for Chris Bosh.
There is a serious concern by the Miami Heat that its All-Star power forward, the bedrock foundation of the team, will miss the remainder of the season to treat blood clots in his lungs. Bosh checked into a Miami-area hospital after missing practice Wednesday and meeting with a doctor Thursday, according to the team. Clotting was confirmed, the Miami Herald learned, and more tests were run Friday to further diagnose the condition.
“The health of your players, that’s my biggest concern, and that’s my biggest thought last night and tonight,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Friday. “Is C.B. OK? Is his family OK?”
The good news is that Bosh’s wife, Adrienne, said Friday that her husband was “doing OK.” The bad news is that blood clots are treated with blood thinners, which likely rules Bosh out medically for several months, perhaps longer.
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Still, Spoelstra remained hopeful Friday evening when he said the team wasn’t operating like Bosh’s season was over. A definitive answer on Bosh’s status for the season, most likely that he must rest and get healthy, is expected as early as Saturday.
News of Bosh’s medical condition was not only a huge blow to the Heat and the City of Miami on Friday, but also the NBA at large. Bosh is a beloved star in the league, and the uncertainty of his future has cast a long shadow over the beginning of the second half of the regular season.
The Heat was in New York on Friday night for a game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, but the idea of losing Bosh for the season was first on the minds of Bosh’s teammates and coach. A 10-time All-Star, Bosh chose to remain in Miami last summer and play for the Heat when he had similar offers from teams projected to be better. Loyal to Miami, the city where he raised two championship trophies in back-to-back seasons, Bosh wanted to make the city’s team his own and rebuild it alongside shooting guard Dwayne Wade after LeBron James left for Cleveland.
He can still do that, but first he must get healthy.
“We appreciate all the Love and Support we have received from our Friends, Family and Fans. Just a quick update that @chrisbosh is doing OK,” Adrienne Bosh wrote Friday on Twitter. “We are just staying focused on positivity and keeping him healthy.”
Spoelstra called speculation of Bosh’s diagnosis premature Friday, but added that Bosh’s health “is the most important thing.”
“The main thing for us is to be here for Chris,” Spoelstra said.
Wade, who returned to the court Friday for the first time since Jan. 27, said Bosh’s medical condition “was more important than basketball.”
Wade and Bosh traveled to New York together last week for the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. Bosh competed in and won the NBA’s Shooting Stars competition Saturday night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, and then played in the All-Star Game on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Bosh reported not feeling well Sunday, but then traveled to Haiti with his wife, Wade, and Wade’s wife, actress Gabrielle Union.
Wade said that Bosh wasn’t feeling well “overall” while in Haiti.
“For us, when he went to the hospital, the biggest thing for all of us as teammates is we just want the best for him and his family,” Wade said. “So, obviously we will get all the details later, but we want the best for him.”
Concern for Bosh reached well beyond the Heat and Miami on Friday morning. James, who led the Heat to four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, expressed his concern for Bosh on Twitter: “Wish I could be there by your side this very moment to tell a joke or something homie. Just to get your mind off what you’re going through! But I know you’re strong and will come back better than ever on and off the court. #PrayForCB.”
On Friday afternoon, the Turner Sports-owned website BleacherReport.com reported that Bosh had blood clots in both lungs. Later Friday, former Herald columnist Dan LeBatard, now a national radio personality for ESPN and locally for AM 790 The Ticket, wrote on Twitter the “Heat believe Bosh is done for the season but he is expected to make a full recovery.”
Bosh signed a guaranteed five-year contract in July for $118 million. The contract currently is the largest guaranteed deal in the NBA.
Concerns for Bosh’s health have muted excitement throughout the team and front office after Heat president Pat Riley and general manager Andy Elisburg traded for Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic on Thursday afternoon. The Heat dealt guard Norris Cole, forwards Shawne Williams and Danny Granger, center Justin Hamilton and two future first-round picks for Dragic, 28, and his brother Zoran, 25.
“Thinking about you brother,” Goran Dragic wrote to Bosh on Twitter. “I'm ready when you get back ... speedy recovery.”
Always a serious medical concern among athletes of contact sports who travel, pulmonary embolisms and blood clots were on the minds of those associated with the NBA before news of Bosh’s medical situation. Just days earlier, longtime former NBA player Jerome Kersey of the Portland Trail Blazers reportedly died of complications related to a clot traveling from his legs to his lungs. Last month, Mirza Teletovic of the Brooklyn Nets was ruled out for the season due to blood clots in his lungs.
Dr. Carlos Zamora, a sports cardiologist for Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, said professional athletes in contact sports are more likely to encounter a combination of risks that would predispose them to deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots in the legs or pelvis that can travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism.
Those dangers include long periods of immobility during travel, or while recovering from injuries, hard blows to the legs, and dehydration from physical activity.
“For athletes it’s very common,” Zamora said. “They’re one of the most common groups of people that get this disease because of those factors.”
Herald reporters Dan Chang and Barry Jackson contributed to this report.
THE MEAN SEASON
Injury and health issues have hampered the Heat all season. Among them:
Nov. 2: Chris Andersen misses five games with a left rib contusion, the first of several injuries for Birdman this season.
Nov. 12: Dwyane Wade sustains a strained left hamstring and misses the next seven games.
Nov. 14: Josh McRoberts begins a three-game absence with a blister on his left foot.
Nov. 23: Andersen sustains a sprained right ankle and misses the next nine games.
Dec. 9: McRoberts tears the meniscus in his right knee. The Heat announces he will miss the rest of the season.
Dec. 12: Chris Bosh strains his left calf and misses eight games.
Dec. 21: Wade misses a game with a right knee contusion, the only game he has skipped this season due to a knee issue.
Dec. 23: Justin Hamilton begins a six-game absence with a concussion.
Jan. 13: Wade strains his left hamstring, misses two games.
Jan. 27: Luol Deng misses the first of three games with left calf soreness.
Jan. 30: Wade begins a seven-game absence with a hamstring injury.
Feb. 6: Hassan Whiteside misses a game with a sprained ankle.
Feb. 19: Chris Bosh enters hospital with what doctors believe is blood clot in lung.