Chris Bosh is back on blood thinners to deal with a clot in his left leg and his return to the Miami Heat this season remains questionable at best.
The 11-time All-Star, who missed the second half of last season when he was hospitalized with blood clots in his lung, began taking the medication again with hopes of returning this season, according to the Associated Press. But the likelihood of that happening remains doubtful.
Bosh, who turns 32 next month, is not only the Heat’s leading scorer, but he’s also the centerpiece of the franchise. Only in the second year of a guaranteed, five-year, $118 million contract, he’s also a father of three, and his wife, Adrienne, is set to give birth to twins in the coming months.
There’s no indication yet Bosh, having already won two NBA titles, is interested in retiring.
But if he did retire, that would still leave the Heat in a huge bind in terms of attracting free agents and having money to spend on them.
Although Bosh would still receive the balance of his contract, the Heat would not be able to receive salary-cap relief for his loss until a full year after he retires. That means Miami would have to carry his $23.7 million contract against the cap until the summer of 2017, leaving them short of cash when a few notable free agents such as Kevin Durant and Al Horford hit the free agent market.
If Bosh decides to continue his career, there’s always the threat of the blood clots coming back and sidelining him again.
Dr. Robert Myerburg, an expert on athletes and cardiology at UHealth, said if Bosh had a clot in his calf he would have to be on blood thinners for about three to six months.
The NBA regular season ends in mid-April.
Some athletes in sports with little to no physical contact can continue to play while taking blood thinners. But Myerburg said it’s highly unlikely Bosh would because “trauma-related bleeding is something you can’t risk.”
“That’s assuming there’s no pulmonary embolism,” he said. “If it was a pulmonary embolism it would be six months or more. I’m sure team physicians took this into consideration, but that’s the first thing to look for. All that said, if he’s not having a propensity to blood clot and this was happening episodically, then between episodes and treatment there’s no reason he shouldn’t or couldn’t compete again.”
Neither the Heat nor Bosh has yet to comment publicly. Miami, though, will host its first post-All-Star break practice on Wednesday.
With the NBA trade deadline fast approaching at 3 p.m. Thursday, the Heat on Tuesday made its first move agreeing as part of a three-team trade to send center Chris “Birdman” Andersen to Memphis. The move shed roughly $6 million in salary and luxury taxes combined.
With Bosh’s return this season in question, it might just end up being the first of a few cost-cutting moves in the coming days to begin preparing for the future.
The Heat (29-24) opens the second half of the season Friday in Atlanta as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, but only 2 1/2 games up on the Pistons, who are seeded ninth and on the outside looking in.
Before news of Bosh’s health concerns broke Monday night, Miami was looking to add shooting help at the trade deadline.
Last year, Miami went 15-15 after Bosh was lost for the season. The Heat missed the playoffs for only the second time since Dwyane Wade was drafted in 2003. Miami began this season with renewed hope to contend with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference title.
Now, team president Pat Riley, 70, who said last week he’s “getting too old to win down the road,” not only has to worry about the team’s immediate future but also essentially its long-term future.
The Heat already has parted with three future first-round picks (2016 to the Philadelphia 76ers; and 2018 and 2021 to the Pheonix Suns). If the Heat ends up with one of the top-10 picks in the 2016 draft, it will get to keep it. But its 2017 first-round pick will automatically go to Philadelphia unprotected, regardless of how high it goes.
In Tuesday’s three-team trade, the Heat included two second-round picks (one heavily protected) in the swap with Memphis and Charlotte that netted backup point guard Brian Roberts. The Heat had previously traded four future second-round picks before that deal.