MIAMI (AP) — Chris Bosh has failed his physical and is not being cleared for training camp by the Miami Heat, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Friday.
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.
Bosh's representatives did not immediately respond to a request from The Associated Press for comment. Bosh has done a number of interviews with Uninterrupted — LeBron James' digital platform — in recent weeks, saying in one of those that "nothing" would keep him off the court this season even though the discovery of blood clots ended each of his past two seasons at the All-Star break.
"I'm ready to play," Bosh said last week.
The Heat are apparently not ready to agree.
And now it would seem that Miami and Bosh — the last remaining member of the "Big Three" grouping of himself, James and Dwyane Wade to still be with the Heat — may be headed for a battle that could require league intervention with a player who wants to get back on the court potentially facing off against a team that would surely argue it is operating with his health in mind.
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.'"
Bosh is owed nearly $76 million for the final three seasons of his contract. Even if he is deemed medically unable to resume his career, that money is guaranteed. But there are mechanisms in the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement that would allow Miami to get Bosh's salary off its cap number sometime next year if he cannot continue to play.
In both a podcast last week and again Wednesday in the first installment of a documentary series about his health problems and recovery, Bosh expressed a clear level of frustration with Heat team physicans. In the podcast, he suggested that team doctors work for the organization and not the players; on the video, he said he was told by doctors that his career was likely over when the second clot saga began this past February.
The Heat, restricted by NBA rules that limit what teams can say when a player may be facing a potentially career-threatening or life-threatening medical situation, have not divulged any specifics about Bosh's health. Team president Pat Riley and managing general partner Micky Arison have both said in recent weeks that they would be open to having Bosh in camp.
There are several unanswered questions regarding Bosh's situation, which got more complex this week when he revealed that multiple clots were found this past February — and that a CT scan was utilized in finding them. CT scans are often used when trying to find if clots have traveled to the upper body.
It's unclear how many clots that means, or where they were found. The only location where Bosh has confirmed a clot was found this year was in one of his calves.
Also unclear: If Bosh is actually on bloodthinners, and if so, what his regimen is. Bosh indicated last week that he was following a plan similar to the one used by NHL player Tomas Fleischmann, who has played for the last several seasons while on bloodthinners — something athletes in contact sports are typically told is a risky proposition.
Fleischmann takes his medication via injection during the season, dealing with exact amounts to ensure that the drug would not affect his bloodstream while practicing and playing. By doing that, his risk of interior bleeding and other complications drops dramatically than what would be the case if he played while the drug was in his system.
Bosh, however, has not specifically said if he is still on bloodthinners and if he plans to play while on them in any form.
Bosh's first bout with a clot was in February 2015, when one that was believed to have formed in one of his legs traveled to a lung and caused problems so severe that he needed to be hospitalized for several days. He recovered and was averaging 19.1 points last season when the second bout with clots began in February — though the ones discovered then did not cause health issues anywhere near as serious as what he dealt with in 2015.