Chris Bosh has been a cornerstone of the Miami Heat franchise or six years now, with two NBA rings to show for his tireless endeavour. However, concerns about his health over the past two seasons have limited his impact on South Beach.
The 31-year-old missed the final 30 games of last season with a blood clot that travelled from his calf to his lung, and he has been absent since the All-Star break this term. His issue this time around isn't clear, but Bosh has moved to deny that it is a reoccurrence of the original problem.
Bosh has tweeted that he's been working out and is indeed, in a healthy condition. Further good news rained down on Florida when the 11-time All-Star made a surprise appearance on the Miami bench during their 124-119 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.
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Even though that win takes Miami's record to 10 wins in 12 outings since Bosh's problems, coach Erik Spoelstra couldn't hide his delight at his stalwart's return.
"It's awesome having him around," Spoelstra said after the game. "I love Chris. I love having him around. He always has an intuitive feel of what I'm thinking, what needs to be relayed. He's an example of leadership at all levels.
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"This is the first one he was out here; normally he watches from the back. Even before the game, he was going through the scout [film] before our [pregame] meeting."
Behind a reinvigorated Goran Dragic, the Heat have been one of the form sides in the league in recent weeks and only the Charlotte Hornets have a better record in the Eastern Conference across their last 10 games.
Spoelstra's troops are breathing down the Boston Celtics' necks for third place, but fellow veteran Dwyane Wade still appreciates the sheer presence of Bosh and what he brings to the organisation.
"It was cool to see him back out there," Wade said. "We didn't know he was coming out until he came out. It was a surprise for everybody. We trust his IQ, so when he comes to the bench, he's telling us some of the things he sees."
The veterans union continued as Udonis Haslem - who sat next to Bosh for the majority of his appearance - explained how important the forward is to the group as a whole.
"It's great to have him back," said Heat co-captain Haslem. "Obviously, it's not basketball. But when it comes to your health, there's a lot of things more important than basketball. I'm just glad to see him back and in good spirits."
It remains to be seen when Bosh will take to the hardwood again as details about his latest period on the sidelines have been kept under wraps from all parties.
Still, it's an encouraging sign for the Heat, who appear to be hitting their stride at just the right time with the postseason fast approaching. Bosh can only add to their playoff credentials, but his health remains at the forefront of everyone's concerns.