More than seven months after being hospitalized for nine days with blood clots in his lungs, Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh said Thursday he has been taken off blood thinners and cleared for basketball contact, days before the team opens training camp Tuesday at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
More significantly, Bosh said he was informed by doctors that he does not have the hereditary gene that would make him more vulnerable to a recurrence of the clots that sidelined him for the final 28 games last season.
Still, Bosh knows there are no assurances against a recurrence. He will take preventative measures, such as getting up to walk during flights, stretching his legs, wearing compression socks and taking Aspirin.
Bosh could not engage in basketball contact while taking blood thinners the past seven months because it would have put him at serious risk if he started bleeding. He said if the clots do return, he would not be required to take blood thinners for the rest of his life.
Bosh said his extended absence from basketball made him appreciate the game more and eliminate some non-basketball interests.
“I am almost 7 feet tall; I have things that I can do that people would call a gift,” he said. “I have the opportunity to go back out there and give passion to the game, because I think I was lacking a little passion for a while. Mentally, I can see myself just really continuing to have an excellent career …
“It’s such a great game. I came that close to losing it. I would rather be [playing basketball] than have tubes in my chest. That sucks.”
Bosh said he spent four or five days per week in the gym this summer and has bulked up to 240-245 pounds, his highest weight since joining the Heat in the summer of 2010.
“I wanted to make sure I came in with enough cushion to sustain contact,” he said. “I am going to lose that five or six pounds pretty easily. But the strength and conditioning will be there. It will be the same strength as somebody heavier but lighter and faster.”
I have the opportunity to go back out there and give passion to the game, because I think I was lacking a little passion for a while.
Bosh said he’s “excited” about the roster and playing alongside point guard Goran Dragic, who was traded to the Heat on the day Bosh was diagnosed with blood clots. He said not being able to play with Dragic last season “gnawed” at him.
“I have watched a ton of film on him over the summer, really all of our newcomers,” Bosh said. “I’m a shooter, he’s a driver. He can be a driver; I can be a shooter. We can interchange positions. It’s perfect. I have a very good feeling about how things are going to go.”
In retrospect, Bosh said the team didn’t have time to prepare for new roles when LeBron James left last summer. “It’s like everything that could have gone wrong for us last year went wrong,” he said.
Bosh last month arranged for most of his teammates to join him for several days of basketball and bonding in Los Angeles, where he has a home.
“One thing last year has taught me is the camaraderie is very important,” he said. “We all could have worked a lot harder [on that last summer]. We all assumed it was just going to happen.”