Chris Bosh and the Heat are in another debate over his health

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  • Chris Bosh
    Chris Bosh
    American basketball player and voice actor
Chris Bosh chats with the crowd at Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni).
Chris Bosh chats with the crowd at Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni).

Chris Bosh saw a second straight season end early due to blood clots last February, but the story of his 2015-16 hardly ended there. While Bosh and the Miami Heat largely kept their disagreements out of the press, reports indicated that player and team were at odds over when he should return to the court. Bosh apparently wanted to play in the postseason (where the Heat took the Toronto Raptors to seven games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals), but the team did not want to risk his health. Concerns over Bosh’s long-term health did not seem likely to end this offseason, but the summer at least provided more hope for a resolution.

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Bosh and the Heat do not appear to have solved their disagreement just yet. According to a column from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Bosh’s use of blood thinners could keep him off the court into 2016-17 and beyond:

With the Heat remaining non-committal about whether Chris Bosh will be cleared to play, one issue that has been discussed is whether Bosh should come off blood thinners or continue taking them, according to a person briefed on the matter.

If Bosh comes off the medication this summer, there’s no reason why he couldn’t play.

But even if he stays on the thinners, Bosh has tried to convince the Heat to allow him to play while taking a new medication that would be out of his system in 8 to 12 hours, or by game-time, thus lessening or eliminating the inherent risks of playing a contact sport while on thinners. As we reported last month, the Heat rejected that idea late this past season, angering Bosh. And it’s unclear if Miami would be receptive to that now. […]

An NBA-employed friend says Bosh very much wants to play and believes he should be cleared. If the Heat fights him on this, it wouldn’t be surprising if Bosh takes this issue to the players union, unless Bosh again relents as he did during last year’s playoffs. Pat Riley said the Heat won’t make a decision on Bosh’s status until August or September.

Jackson spoke to several medical experts on the issue, and the clearest takeaway is that no one really knows if it’s safe to play on blood thinners. One doctor refuses to take a strong position without specific knowledge of Bosh’s condition, yet another says he probably could suit up for the Heat if he adopts some regular preventative measures. It seems likely that, if Bosh stays on blood thinners, he and the franchise will either have to negotiate a compromise or get the NBPA involved.

It’s easy to see both sides of the issue. The 32-year-old Bosh does not want to waste the final seasons of his prime waiting for medical clearance that isn’t guaranteed to come, and the Heat want to protect their investment while also keeping open the potential to clear his cap number immediately if he’s forced to retire. It’s a serious disagreement, to be sure, but it doesn’t seem to be an all-out war.

No matter the resolution, though, it would seem as if Bosh should ultimately have the final decision. His future health will obviously affect many people, including Heat employees and especially his family. Yet Bosh has also proven that he can stay away from the game if his health is in serious danger. It’s probably safe to guess that one of the league’s most sincere and likable stars will not make such a decision without deep consideration of all the possibilities and factors at play.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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