The strange saga of Chris Bosh continues.
The Heat’s 11-time All-Star, who has not played since Feb. 9 because of a recurrence of the blood clotting that also caused him to miss the second half of last season, traveled separately from his teammates to attend Saturday’s game. He had not traveled to a Heat game since Feb. 5, also in Charlotte.
Bosh has not spoken to the media since Feb. 13 at All-Star weekend in Toronto. So it was no surprise that, from the start of Saturday’s open pregame locker room period, Bosh sat in the back corner of the locker room, wearing earbuds and reading a book. Heat officials stood between Bosh and reporters, and waved off any reporter that approached.
Earlier in the day, the Heat did tell reporters that Bosh would attend, but that his playing status had not changed, meaning that he was still out indefinitely. Coach Erik Spoelstra, asked about Bosh’s presence, did say that he appreciated Bosh’s “steadying influence, leadership at all levels even when he’s not out there on the court.”
Otherwise, secrecy remained the standard.
Bosh, one of the NBA’s most accessible players to media during his career, has clearance from the team to talk, but has stayed silent other than a news release from a personal publicist on March 11. In that release, Bosh stated that his “situation this year has never been life-threatening,” that he currently did “not have deep-vein thrombosis,” that he was working with the Heat for “the best precautionary treatment,” and that he remained “positive that I will be able to return this season.”
The Heat has refused to address that news release, with Spoelstra and others simply saying they continued to support Bosh in his recovery.
In lieu of comment from either Bosh or the Heat, the Miami Herald has learned the following in recent days from multiple sources, all of whom spoke under the condition of anonymity:
▪ Bosh has indicated to associates that he has no plans to retire at this time and intends to play next season for the Heat. He is under contract for three seasons after this one, at roughly $75.5 million. Even if he retired this offseason, the Heat would not receive any salary-cap relief until summer 2017.
▪ According to multiple sources, although the Heat remains supportive of Bosh (he traveled on owner Micky Arison’s plane), they have not all been aligned in terms of the treatment of his condition. The team has been the more cautious party, making it known behind the scenes that, just because an outside doctor clears Bosh, it doesn’t mean the team will be comfortable letting him play. That would be true even with a medical waiver that would in some way limit liability.
▪ Bosh, eager to return, has sought opinions from multiple doctors about whether it was safe to come off the blood thinners in order to resume playing this season. On that issue, there were different opinions among the doctors consulted by Bosh, according to two sources with direct knowledge. But most of the doctors consulted believed Bosh should continue taking the blood thinners for several months, which is common treatment for the condition, even though the clot dissipated several weeks ago. That is ultimately the course Bosh took.
▪ The Heat did not consider allowing Bosh to play while taking blood thinners, because it’s highly risky to play a contact sport while doing so.
▪ Bosh also explored the possibility of taking a different medication that would allow him to play, but that was not deemed viable.
Bosh continues to appear in commercials for the blood-thinning medication Xarelto. Last week, Miami New Times published a story that said “more than 3,400 lawsuits around the nation have been filed against Xarelto’s maker and distributors, alleging the drug has caused numerous deaths and caused unstoppable bleeding in thousands of patients.”