Chris Bosh has failed his Miami Heat physical, and his NBA future is in doubt

Chris Bosh watches from the bench as the Miami Heat take on the Charlotte Hornets during Game 4 of the 2016 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Chris Bosh watches from the bench as the Miami Heat take on the Charlotte Hornets during Game 4 of the 2016 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Well, this is crushing: Chris Bosh continues to experience complications related to blood clotting, and has failed the physical he hoped would clear him for a return to the Miami Heat, casting his NBA future in doubt.

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“A person with direct knowledge of the situation” told Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press about the failed physical Friday morning:

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither Bosh nor the team has made any announcement. It’s a major blow to the All-Star’s comeback plans and a decision that will likely add to the tension between the team and its highest-paid player.

Bosh has gone through a series of medical tests in recent days, and the results apparently were not enough to convince Miami that he’s able to play – at least, not yet. The team holds media day in Miami on Monday and starts training camp in the Bahamas on Tuesday. It’s unclear if Bosh will even be present for those events.

Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald on Friday termed the issue “a complication” related to the blood clot issues that have prematurely ended his last two seasons that arose in the medical tests to which the Heat subjected the 32-year-old All-Star power forward:

Though the complication is not considered life-threatening if treated, it requires medication and playing with it is considered unrealistic. […]

The Heat had gone into this week expecting to clear Bosh to resume his career this season, according to multiple sources briefed on the situation. But his clearance by the Heat always was contingent on Bosh passing his physical and no issues surfacing during a battery of Heat-administered medical tests this week.

And when an issue arose in blood work this week, the Heat concluded he could not be cleared to return.

Shortly after the news began to circulate, the Heat released a statement confirming Bosh’s status:

The Miami HEAT and Chris Bosh, in consultation with team doctors and other physicians, have been working together for many months with the mutual goal of having Chris return to the court as soon as possible. Chris has now taken his pre-season physical. The Miami HEAT regret that it remains unable to clear Chris to return to basketball activities, and there is no timetable for his return.

We are not able to comment further in light of Article XXII, Section 3(e) of the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, which precludes a team from releasing certain medical information without a player’s consent.

The failed physical comes two days after Bosh released the first episode of “Rebuilt,” a self-directed documentary web series aimed at documenting Bosh’s battles with the blood-clotting problems that have compromised his health and forced him out of action after the All-Star break of the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, as well as what Bosh hoped would be successful efforts to return to the Heat after months of treatment and rehabilitation work.

Throughout his forced separation from the court, Bosh has maintained his intention to come back, continuing to search for treatment options and second opinions that would allow him to be cleared to play professional basketball once again. The Heat, however, have resisted, reportedly and understandably unwilling to take the risk that a recurrence of clotting issues could have catastrophic consequences for Bosh’s health.

Even so, Bosh continued to work out and publicly profess his expectation that he’d be cleared for Heat training camp. From an appearance last week on the Open Run podcast, as transcribed by ProBasketballTalk:

Absolutely [I’m ready to come back for training camp]. We’ve been talking about it for a long time. We released a statement in May that as soon as I’m ready to play, as soon as possible, I’ll play. I’m ready. I’ve done all my work working with the doctors. I’m in incredible shape. […] Especially with [Heat owner] Micky Arison saying, “I’ll see you at camp.” I think it’s moving forward. I have no reason to believe it’s not. We’ll finish this.

Despite Bosh’s confidence, though, multiple reports indicated that the Heat weren’t yet comfortable clearing Bosh to play long-term, continuing the impasse between the two sides and leaving a layer of haze and ambiguity over Bosh’s status. Friday’s news would seem to lend clarity to the situation … unless Bosh, who made it clear in his podcast appearance and in “Rebuilt” that he didn’t agree with the Heat medical staff’s assessment of his physical health, elects to continue pressing the issue in pursuit of continuing to ply his trade.

It’s his right to do so; who can blame a man for fighting with all his might to continue living out his dream? But as a close friend and longtime teammate said Friday, this latest turn could signal that it’s time for Bosh — a man of many interests and passions, a husband, and a father — to seriously consider stepping away. From Reynolds:

[Dwyane] Wade, now of the Chicago Bulls, said he still supports Bosh — but has reservations.

“I wouldn’t be a friend if I didn’t express to him my concerns,” Wade told AP. “To me, the biggest thing is Chris has five kids and a wife and a family that depends on him being there. To me, that’s always most important. I told him, ‘Make sure you focus on that first.'”

That’s got to be an incredibly difficult thing to hear, process and accept. In this case, though, doing so seems to be a hell of a lot better than the alternative.

We don’t want to watch Bosh go out like this, if that’s what it comes to, but we also want to see him do amazing things with his life for decades to come. The Heat — who have sorely missed Bosh’s on-court production and off-court leadership the past two springs, and will continue to do so should Bosh remain sidelined — have evidently decided that allowing him to play created an unacceptable risk of compromising that.

“I know things will work out for the best,” Bosh said during a Facebook Live session on Wednesday. Sometimes, sadly, we don’t get to choose how.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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