Chris Bosh ended his silence Thursday morning regarding his health and raised the possibility he could return to the Miami Heat this season.
“I know there have been many questions regarding my health and when I will play again,” Bosh wrote in a statement released by his publicist. “My situation this year has never been life-threatening. I am feeling great and currently I do not have deep-vein thrombosis.
“Together with the Miami Heat, I am working with doctors, exploring the best precautionary treatment options and taking every necessary step to make sure I am healthy for myself, my family and my team. I have been working out, training with the team, watching film of the games, walking through plays and have attended home games despite not being visible to the public.
“I will continue to support my teammates in every way possible. I remain positive that I will be able to return this season. I truly appreciate everyone’s concern and support.”
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The Heat (37-27) has been without the 11-time All-Star since the All-Star break. He last played Feb. 9 in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs, and it was announced a couple days later by the team that Bosh would miss the All-Star Game with a strained calf.
It was later learned and widely reported that Bosh had begun taking blood thinning medication to deal with a clot in his leg. Medical experts have said that if Bosh began taking blood thinners for a clot in his calf he would have to remain on the medicine for three to six months.
Even if Bosh is cleared by his doctors, team officials still have to clear Bosh independently.
The Heat, which had its five-game winning streak snapped in Wednesday’s loss at Milwaukee, has yet to comment on Bosh’s statement. The team was scheduled to practice Thursday in Chicago. But team officials told reporters late Wednesday night players and coaches would instead hold a film session in the team hotel.
Miami, seeded fourth in the Eastern Conference, has played well in Bosh’s absence. The team is 8-3 since the break and has gone from being one of the slowest-paced teams in the league (96 points per game) in the first half of the season to one of the fastest, averaging 108.1 points without Bosh.
Bosh, 31, was leading the Heat in scoring (19.1 points per game), three-pointers (81), minutes (33.5) and didn’t miss a game through the first half of the season.
His absence has opened the door for more minutes and opportunities for others.
Since the All-Star break center Hassan Whiteside has been averaging 18.5 points, 15 rebounds, 4.1 blocks; Luol Deng has moved over to the power-forward position and his averages have increased (17.2 points, 9.9 rebounds); and point guard Goran Dragic (18.4 points, 7.1 assists) is averaging five more shots a game.
But teammates have said repeatedly they would welcome Bosh with open arms.
Dragic has said Bosh would thrive in the Heat’s new fast-paced attack as a trailing three-point shooter. If Bosh returns this season it’s likely that he would move from power forward to the starting center position so the Heat could keep a small and fast lineup.
“Obviously we’d love to have Chris,” Dwyane Wade said after the Heat beat the 76ers on Sunday night. “I think adding Joe [Johnson] to our team at the time we did was perfect for us. His versatility, we need it. With the way it is in the East, there are some good teams for sure. But we’re right in the thick of things.
“Lu has been playing great. We add Joe. Hassan has been playing phenomenal. You lose guys and you can’t replace what they bring. But you bring in other guys and they’re able to bring some special to your team. [Rookie] Josh [Richardson] is bringing something different than what Beno [Udrih] brought. Not only are we’re scoring more than 100 points, but it doesn’t even feel like it. We’re just playing basketball.
“The biggest thing is everyone is happy. When you have a team and somebody isn’t talking in the locker room because they’re not happy with what their role is, it’s tough at this time of year. But right now everyone is happy with their role. Everyone is happy with their touches, minutes, involvement. I think the change of offense we had to do when Chris went out has been good for this team.”
Bosh’s return come the playoffs could essentially vault the Heat from being a team “in the thick of things” to a potential NBA title contender.
Friday: Heat at Bulls
When, where: 8 p.m., United Center, Chicago.
TV, radio: Fox Sports Sun; WAXY (790), WAQI (710, Spanish).
Series: Bulls lead 55-46.
Scouting report: The Heat won the first two meetings, including the last one March 1 in Miami in blowout fashion 129-111. The Bulls were without leading scorer and All-Star Jimmy Butler for that game, but should have the 6-7 swingman back after he visited Dr. James Andrews in Alabama on Thursday and was assured there were no lingering issues with his left knee according to CBS.