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WITH CHRIS BOSH OUT OF THE PICTURE, THE HEAT MOVE ON
Mon, 28 May 2012 12:11 PM EDT

The Miami Heat will make preparations for the Eastern Conference finals as if forward Chris Bosh won’t be available for the series, Coach Erik Spoelstra declared. Baseball lines

The team remains uncertain when – or if – Bosh will come back from the strained abdominal muscle he sustained on May 15 in Game 1 of Miami’s semi-final series against Indiana.

In his most extensive update of Bosh’s status since the injury, Spoelstra asserted the perennial All-Star has modestly progressed in his treatment and light conditioning sessions, such as riding a stationary bike, recently. But several Heat players have said Bosh has not been able to participate in any on-court work with the team in limited practices.

“He’s doing a little bit more, [but] he’s still indefinite,” Spoelstra asserted of Bosh. “For me, it’s my duty right now to prepare this team without him. If and when we get to a point when he begins to appear into the picture, we’ll gladly deal with that. For our thought state of health — and I’d love to [get] Chris — but our preparation is without him.”

The Miami Heat was able to regroup without Bosh to eliminate the Pacers in 6 games after falling into a 2-1 series hole. Spoelstra recommended the adjustments the Heat made were parts of “reinventing ourselves” without Bosh, who has averaged 18 points and 7.9 rebounds during the season. He averaged 14.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in Miami’s 1st 6 playoff games, including 5 against N.Y Knicks.

Results of an MRI confirmed the strain a day after Bosh was injured, and the Heat intended to re-evaluate the 9-year vet after 2 to 3 weeks of rest and treatment.

Bosh frequently has asserted his teammates would have to extend the season — possibly to the Finals — to give him sufficient time to come back to action this season.

Meanwhile, the Heat had to depend on increased production from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who put together an unprecedented stretch of games to push away from the Pacers with 3 sequential victories. James averaged 32.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8 assists on 55% shooting. In that same span, Wade contributed 33 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 aids on 62 percent shooting.

Considering the uncertainty around Bosh, Spoelstra advised James and Wade would need to keep on producing at that level — if not more — for the Heat to advance past the conference finals and have an opportunity to win a title.

“What we did the last 3 games, now that must be the rule,” Spoelstra said not just of the play of Wade and James, but the entire team. “What I told them [Saturday] as a team we should go to the next level. That won’t be enough for our final target.”

Wade and James had similar reactions when initially informed of Spoelstra’s comments after Saturday’s practice. Both rocked back on their heels and raised their eyebrows.

James declared he’s prepared to make any corrections necessary with his offense if Bosh is ready to return.


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