Will Chris Bosh return to the court after having his last two seasons cut short due to blood clots in his lungs and calf? The Miami Heat All-Star forward certainly believes so.
In an interview on the Open Run podcast for Uninterrupted (fast-forward to the 32-minute mark), Bosh declared himself ready to return for the Heat’s training camp beginning on Sept. 27. However, he also admitted the Heat have yet to give him official medical clearance.
"We've been talking about it for a long time. We released a statement back in May saying as soon as I'm ready to play as soon as possible, we'll play. And I'm ready," he told hosts Jesse Williams and Stefan Marolachakis. "I've done all work. I've done what I need to do working with the doctors.
“Especially with [Heat owner] Micky Arison saying, 'Hey, see you at camp,'" Bosh later added. "So I think it's moving forward. I have no reason to believe that it's not. And you know, we'll finish this."
There is growing optimism that Bosh will indeed be cleared to play, though it’s unclear if he will be allowed to participate in every game. An NBA Players Union source told the Miami Herald that the “expectation” is that Bosh will play.
But Bosh’s declaration despite the absence of official medical clearance speaks to a divide between the two sides. Bosh has been itching to return to the court for some time. With the help of his wife, he has frequently posted workout videos on social media, dating back to last spring. Here’s a recent one.
The Heat, however, have remained silent on Bosh’s status, with the exception of a joint statement declaring him out for the season last May and a brief word from Pat Riley in a July press conference.
“It’s a positive environment right now with Chris, and I think his doctors and our doctors are constantly more so more than ever communicating,” Riley said then, via the Miami Herald. “I know what Chris wants. I know he wants to play. Obviously, we would be open to that. But this is still a very fluid situation. On this day today, [July] 16th, there’s not an answer. I wish I could give you one. Let’s just let this process move on down the road and go from there.”
The conflict centers on a simple question: who has the right to decide whether Bosh plays? Bosh’s condition may require him to stay on blood thinners, which cut short his last two seasons. If treated incorrectly, Bosh’s life could be at risk. The Heat are understandably being cautious, and Bosh is understandably yearning to make his own decision and return to the court. That makes for an awkward situation with no easy answers.
If Bosh must remain on blood thinners, as some doctors have recommended, there isn’t much precedent for an arrangement that would allow him to play. Tomas Fleischmann of the NHL’s Florida Panthers has managed to continue his career despite taking blood thinners, but it’s unclear if that exact approach would work for Bosh’s body. Last May, the Heat rejected a proposal for Bosh to use a thinner that would leave his system within about eight hours, according to the Miami Herald. They appear to be more open to that now.
In the meantime, Bosh said he’s preparing for business as usual.
“I’ve made it clear from the jump if I’m ready to play I want to play,” Bosh said on the podcast. “I’ll be [at camp]. Will I be cleared? I don’t know. That’s out of my hands. I will play basketball in the NBA. I’m confident."
Now it’s up to the Heat and their doctors to collaborate with Bosh on a plan that won’t put his life in jeopardy.