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With NBA teams’ training camps set to get underway in less than one month, Chris Bosh hit social media on Monday to show that, nearly eight months after pulling out of the 2016 NBA All-Star Game amid concerns related to another round of the frightening blood-clotting problems that have prematurely ended his last two seasons, he’s stepping up his workouts in what would seem to indicate continued interest in returning to the Miami Heat this season.
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From the 32-year-old power forward/center’s Snapchat/Twitter account:
— Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh) August 29, 2016
“I know I’ve been gone for a moment, but now I’m back,” Bosh says. “Everybody is always asking me, ‘Am I hooping?’ Yes, I’m hooping. Absolutely. I’m a hooper.”
The 11-time All-Star then proceeded to show us the receipts, posting a clip of him doing some ball-handling and shooting in a non-contact drill:
Bosh went through a series of similarly styled drills, dribbling and sliding and lofting long jumpers with that lefty release:
As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press notes, the Snapchat missive represents “the first time this offseason that he’s revealed doing any on-court work,” though according to Adrienne Bosh, Bosh’s wife, he’s been working toward a return for some time now.
“I’ve been watching my husband for over a month working day in and day out and happy to see him giving a glimpse of that hard work to the world on his Snapchat,” she wrote in the caption of an Instagram post republishing one of the workout clips. “He is a consistent inspiration for me! A lot of people ‘say the right things’ but very few follow through in their ‘actions’. Looking forward to seeing his ‘actions’ on a court this season.”
It remains to be seen, however, if Bosh will be able to resume hooping this season for the Heat … although, apparently, the two-time NBA champion is preparing as if he’ll be back soon. From Michael Wallace of ESPN.com:
A league source told ESPN.com in July that Bosh is preparing to be available when training camp opens on Sept. 27 and expects to be medically cleared to rejoin the team.
But while Bosh has evidently progressed to non-contact drill work on the court, it’s not yet clear if he’s been medically cleared to resume full workouts, or if/when such clearance could come, a sticking point over the seven-plus months since his last on-court appearance on Feb. 9, 2016.
Throughout the remainder of the 2015-16 season, Bosh remained insistent that, unlike his first bout with clots on his lung, his situation this time “has never been life-threatening” and that he believed he’d be able to return to the floor before season’s end. The Heat took a more measured approach, reportedly making it known that even if Bosh was able to find a doctor willing to clear him for a return to game action — which he reportedly did — they wouldn’t allow that view to supersede the position of their team doctors, who were unwilling to allow Bosh to resume full activity for fear of a potentially catastrophic recurrence of the clotting issue. Bosh reportedly explored the idea of altering the regimen of blood thinners he’d been required to take to prevent clotting in order to have the medication out of his system by tip-off; the Heat and their doctors reportedly rejected that plan.
Shortly after reports of an impasse between player and team made national headlines, Bosh and the Heat released a joint statement announcing that he would not suit up during the 2016 postseason, and that all parties involved would continue to work together “to return Chris to playing basketball as soon as possible.” Internally, though, the Heat reportedly continued to fear that Bosh’s condition “will prevent him from ever being cleared to play by team doctors,” due in part to ongoing uncertainty and an apparent lack of medical consensus on whether it would be safe for Bosh to play while taking blood thinners, or for him to stop taking them.
Heat president Pat Riley said during his post-free-agency press conference back in mid-July that Bosh’s situation remained unsettled:
“It’s always fluid. It always has been since there was a diagnosis and a decision for him not to play the rest of the season. It’s a positive environment right now with Chris and his doctors. Our doctors are constantly communicating, more so now than ever. I know Chris wants to play. Obviously, we would be open to that but this is still a very fluid situation. On this day, there is not an answer. I wish I could give you one. […]
“From the standpoint of today, it’s moving forward of down that road of him playing. He wants to play. We’re open to helping him get there. That’s all I can say. It’s a sensitive, complicated situation that I can’t speak to medically. From a basketball standpoint, I’ve been told we’ve been put on hold. […] We should just wait until August or September [for clarity on Bosh]. I think we’ll have a lot more information then. Chris is an X factor here.”
For what it’s worth, in an Aug. 11 letter to Heat season-ticket holders, team owner Micky Arison included Bosh’s name among the ranks of Miami players to whom fans could look forward to cheering in the year ahead:
What won’t change is the culture of this organization. The Miami HEAT is a Championship organization. I fully expect this team, from Pat Riley to Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, to our veterans Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Goran Dragic and Josh McRoberts, to our returning young core of Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson, to the fresh faces joining the HEAT Family to continue our mantra of being the “hardest working, best conditioned, most professional, unselfish, toughest, meanest, nastiest team in the NBA.”
With training camp just under one month away, though, what’s unclear about Bosh’s medical situation seems to continue to outweigh what is certain. At this point, all we know is that Bosh remains in line to make a Heat-high and fully guaranteed $23.7 million next season, and that he’d really like to return to the court to earn it, because … well, because he’s a hooper.
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