Chris Bosh progressing from blood clots, on pace to return next season

Chris Bosh speaks to media Monday. (Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports)
Chris Bosh speaks to media Monday. (Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports)

The NBA world was shaken shortly after All-Star Weekend by the news that Miami Heat big man Chris Bosh would be sidelined for the rest of the season by blood clots in his lungs. Thankfully, the illness — potentially life-threatening when allowed to persist — was caught early enough to allow the two-time NBA champion the chances of a full recovery. Bosh spoke to reporters for the first time Monday night before Miami's home game vs. the Boston Celtics, and that optimistic prognosis appears accurate.

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The Heat kicked off the good news earlier Monday with an announcement that Bosh is recovering from the blood clots and is on track to return to the court in time for next fall's training camp. From their press release:

Chris Bosh will be re-evaluated this month, and if cleared, may begin regular exercise at that time with plans to start strength training next month. He is scheduled to resume full basketball activities in September.

That update was expanded upon during Bosh's pregame news conference, in which he revealed that he is still very limited in terms of physical exertion but is improving steadily. From Tim Reynolds for the Associated Press:

Bosh has no way of really knowing, but figures he played with the clot on his lung - a dangerous situation, to say the least.

''I'm imagining I did, yeah,'' Bosh said. ''Some days were rough. Some weren't. ... I just wanted to play ball.''

Bosh spoke for about seven minutes in a pregame news conference, looking normal. He's not, 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 a busy Monday for Bosh. Earlier, 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 weeks ago about whether he would ever be able to play again, but that those conversations quickly ended.

Bosh also addressed the crowd before the game before joining his teammates on the bench:

These are minor steps, to be sure, but it sounds like simply leaving home is a meaningful event for Bosh in his current state. It's nice to see him in an NBA context, no matter how close he is to playing.

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Given his current state, it may strike many as odd that Bosh and the Heat are setting a fairly specific September return date when he is still so unable to play basketball. Yet the blood clots are not a normal basketball injury like an ankle sprain, in the sense that simple diagnosis of the issue is the most important part of the recovery process. The real danger was that Bosh's clots would go undiscovered and threaten his life — now that they are being monitored, he just has to wait it out.

It's an unfortunate set of circumstances for the Heat and Bosh, but the mere fact that he's gotten through this key early period in his recovery suggests that better days are ahead. The NBA will miss Bosh, but at least it will welcome him back in due time.

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