By Tim Reynolds
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
MIAMI _ Chris Bosh still has no idea how he was able to play through the pain for about three weeks, or why he wasn’t scared to learn that his health was in serious trouble.
All he knows is that the worst days are behind him.
And to him and the Miami Heat, that’s all that matters.
Bosh was back around his team Monday night for the first time in nearly a month, an important and emotional step on his long road back to the NBA after being diagnosed with blood clots on a lung. Bosh could be cleared to start regularly exercising by the end of March, and as of now is scheduled to resume “full basketball activities” in September.
The Heat released that timetable through team thoracic surgeon John DeRosimo and team cardiologist Ed Neff.
“All the love and energy has really, really allowed me to be back here,” Bosh said. “Not under the circumstances I want to be, but beggars can’t be choosers. Very happy to be here and I’m doing a lot better.”
Bosh has no way of really knowing, but figures he played with the clot on his lung.
“I’m imagining I did, yeah,” Bosh said. “Some days were rough. Some weren’t. … I just wanted to play ball.”
Bosh spoke with reporters for about seven minutes, looking like his usual self. He’s far from normal, though: His physical exertion is very limited right now, and he just recently started driving around the block.
“Do a little bit of walking every day, just trying to get better,” Bosh said. “Just take time to reflect, sit outside and enjoy this beautiful weather and appreciate it.”
It was all part of a very hectic Monday for Bosh: Earlier in the day, 35 Heat employees arrived via bus at his house and surprised him by dropping off 10,000 get-well cards. Bosh was in the driveway, basking in the sun and beaming as he held one of the many overstuffed boxes.
Bosh said there were discussions about whether he would ever be able to play basketball again, but that those conversations quickly ended as his condition improved.
“I knew I was going to play basketball again,” Bosh said.
He was back on the court Monday night, meeting a soldier who was being honoured pregame by the Heat and then Bosh briefly addressed the crowd.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for all the love,” he said, then urging the fans to support Miami’s push toward a playoff spot.
His last game with the Heat this season was Feb. 11, just before the start of the All-Star break. Bosh was dealing with pain in his side and back for some time (even seeking help from a chiropractor at one point), but went to All-Star weekend in New York anyway _ teaming with Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash to win the Shooting Stars competition at the league’s midseason showcase for the third straight year.
Before long, the scare was real to many people. To him, somehow, it wasn’t.
“I don’t know why,” Bosh said. “It just didn’t come as a scary thing at the time.”
After about a week in the hospital, Bosh could finally go home and has been following Miami’s playoff drive rather intently ever since.
“He sends me texts during the game, things like ‘Shoot the ball, 3”’ Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. “He knows I don’t see them until after. But it makes him feel better.”
Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, visited with Bosh and his wife Adrienne after Saturday’s Heat win over Sacramento game, catching up over red wine and conversation. Adrienne Bosh was the one who talked her husband into finally going to the hospital.
“She saves my life on a daily basis,” Bosh said.
Wade said Bosh has been inspiring even in his absence.
The Heat are a banged-up team right now, with about half the roster dealing with legitimate injuries. Wade’s one of them, and when his sore hip has acted up in recent days he said he’s talked his way through it in part by reminding himself that Bosh is going through something much more serious.
“We’ve talked about how blessed and how fortunate, how privileged we are, to be involved in this game,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “For the guys who are able to compete out there, even if you don’t feel 100 per cent, it’s an incredible honour.
“And CB would do just about anything to be out there right now. It’s very frustrating for him, but it gives great perspective.”
Bosh met Goran Dragic, the point guard who was acquired last month at virtually the same moment that the team learned Bosh would miss the season, for the first time Monday.
“I’ve come to appreciate everything about basketball, just being in the grind of doing this special job that we have,” Bosh said. “It’s something that I love, will love forever.”