MRI scans confirmed Chris Bosh’s suspected abdominal strain, but gave us no real indication as to when the Miami Heat can expect their power forward back.
The team is operating under the belief he will not be available for the rest of the series, and Bosh himself too is subscribing to that theory.
“This season has to be extended for me to play again. That’s what’s on my mind. We started treatments and it’s a process. We’ll see how my body responds.”
In a way it’s almost justified that Miami too experienced a key injury, given what we have seen thus far these playoffs. Derrick Rose tore his MCL and largely was the reason Chicago were knocked out in the first round by Philadelphia. Iman Shumpert too lost his season, costing the Knicks dearly with a similar injury. Ray Allen has barely featured for the Celtics this post season and when he has, he hasn’t looked the same.
Everyone believed Miami were going to sleep walk into the Finals as the opposition crumbled around them, but they are the most recent to feel the wrath of the Eastern injury monster.
Miami will be relieved it was Bosh and not one of the other two.
Nonetheless Chris Bosh is arguably the Heat’s most crucial player as he gives their offense an extra edge and makes things so much easier for James and Wade. Bosh’s range means he not only drags big men out of the paint with him, allowing no.3 and no.6 a largely clean lane, but he also provides a deadly option for a kick out should the paint collapse on either of the Heat’s wing stars.
Whilst Bosh’s game is the most scrutinised, the Lakers game earlier in the season made it undeniable that Bosh was as important to the team as either of the other two.
The official term is ‘indefinite’, meaning Bosh could be back tomorrow or he could return next season.
I think the Heat will be relieved this happened against Indiana rather than any other team they are likely to face. Indiana are a hugely deep team, but they’re also an undersized team, other than Roy Hibbert. They play with big men like David West, Tyler Hansbrough and Louis Amundson who are all under 6’10. Miami plays a similar rotation, using taller 2s/3s and smaller 4s/5s because they run the floor better and are more useful in pick and rolls with James and Wade. They match up as well with Indiana than any team remaining in the Eastern Conference, perhaps the entire league.
James and Wade will be asked to play increased minutes and take a greater load. That does not hurt Miami at all, in fact it could be a good thing.
Miami will only go as far as those two take them. Ultimately it will be up to LeBron James as to whether they break through and win the championship, but Dwyane Wade will be a vital part in helping him make that a reality. Last year Wade struggled through the majority of the Eastern side of the playoffs, finally finding his feet midway through the Chicago series. He was Miami’s best during the Finals after he got going. If Wade and James can really get moving, and doing it side by side, it could be hugely beneficial for the Heat that they spend this time getting themselves up to championship pace.
Chris Bosh’s role, whilst hugely important, is not overly complicated. They ask him to hover around the 10-20ft range and either knock down open shots, roll to the rim or create his own shot when there is nothing on for the wingers. Missing time is not going to change or hurt that. The key to his team is what the other two are doing, whether they are combining to torture their opponents with their superior talent and whether they both contributing consistently rather than relying on one more so than the other.
Because Indiana are a tiny market and are never shown on national TV, everyone believes this will be a meaningless sweep. It may well be a sweep, but if it is I guarantee the point differential for the series will be not much higher than 20. The Pacers are a very, very solid and very, very deep team. They probably are another year away from really reaching their potential, but there is no doubting the fact that they earned the position they find themselves in and no one should take them lightly.
Miami certainly don’t.