The Heat announced Monday that Chris Bosh has a strained abdominal muscle and is out indefinitely. Bosh, speaking Monday afternoon, did not sound optimistic about returning in this round against Indiana, though he didn't rule it out. He said he had no idea when he will play again.
"This season has to be extended for me to play again," Bosh said in his strongest comment about the possible timetable. "We've started treatment. We'll see how my body responds. If I came back, it wouldn't surprise me at all."
Did Bosh mean coming back in this round or in the playoffs at any point? "Playoffs, period," he said. Earlier in the interview, when asked if he might play in this series, he said he's "not sure."
He said the injury is "sore."
Manu Ginobili missed two weeks this season with a similar injury. But Utah's Al Jefferson did not miss a game when he suffered a strained abdominal muscle this season. Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick missed 17 games with an abdominal injury, but his required surgery. So the timetable can vary widely.
But the injury is not a tear, according to an MRI. "It's not the worst thing that could have happened," he said.
The Eastern Conference Finals would start either Saturday, May 26, or Monday, May 28 -- which gives Bosh 12 or 14 days to heal.
Erik Spoelstra declined to say what his new lineup might be, but he could opt for Ronny Turiaf at center, with Udonis Haslem continuing to start at power forward. Though Spoelstra would not rule out LeBron James starting at power forward, James said that is not going to happen.
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Postscripts from the Pacers locker-room Sunday night, plus a few other Heat notes:
(For the Sunday buzz column, including Dolphins, Heat, UM and Marlins notes, see the last post.)
### On a day the Indiana Pacers did plenty right, they picked an inauspicious time to go cold. The Heat defense certainly had something to do with that.
Down by one with 4:50 left, the Pacers didn’t hit another field goal the rest of the day, missing their final nine shots from the field. Their only point in that span was a free throw by Paul George, who also missed one. The Heat closed the game on a 9-1 run.
“We had this game,” said George, whose team led by as many as nine in the first half. “We felt like we gave it away. We played great enough defense to win it.”
### But Danny Granger, the Pacers’ leading scorer this season, had a dismal game, finishing with seven points and missing nine of 10 shots, including 0 for 3 in the fourth quarter. Granger suggested none of that was his fault. He said coach Frank Vogel apologized to him for not getting him the ball in better spots.
“It’s not me,” Granger said. “I’ve got to play in the system. It’s on all of us. None of the shots were in the flow of the game. We have to get creative finding ways to get me the ball. A lot of it was forced shots. If I didn’t [force shots], I would have had three shots” all game.
Granger went on to say that “when we play Miami, they like using me as a decoy. It’s hard. Up to six minutes in the third quarter, I had only taken three shots. I got screened 100 times by Joel Anthony.”
Vogel said “we are going to have to get Danny better shots. I do not know if he is going to have a huge offensive series, especially when he has to guard LeBron James for 38 minutes.”
But Granger said “the way to attack LeBron and Dwyane Wade is to make them play defense. You have to make them work both ways.”
### Besides Granger, George also had a subpar night. He battled foul trouble throughout and fouled out with two minutes left, finishing with six points on one for five shooting.
Indiana got good work from center Roy Hibbert (17 points, 11 rebounds) and power forward David West (17 points, 12 rebounds). But Indiana’s 0-for-9 drought began after George Hill’s three-pointer trimmed the Heat’s lead to 86-85.
### Hill said it was both a case of the Pacers missing makeable shots and the Heat playing disruptive defense. The Pacers shot 6 for 21 from the field and 3 for 8 from the line in their 16-point fourth quarter, with three turnovers and three assists.
“We relied too much on our first option,” said point guard Darren Collison, who didn’t play the final 7:52. “We have to go to our second and third option. If we get more ball movement, we’ll be fine.”
Ball movement is something Vogel preached to his team in recent days. “They can’t guard great passing teams,” he told his team during a huddle, adding his players should “do what the Mavericks did” in last year’s Finals and do it even better.
But Indiana closed with just three more assists (18) than turnovers (15). The Pacers shot 40.3 percent from the field and committed 31 fouls, to Miami’s 22.
“We played a decent game,” Vogel said. “We did not shoot very well, we let the Heat get too many second shots and points in transition. Our guys are fouling too much.”
### Do the Pacers feel like they squandered an opportunity because injured Chris Bosh missed the second half? “No,” Hibbert said. “They still have good players. Ronny Turiaf brings lots of energy.”
### Hibbert got a lucky break and avoided fouling out when referees called a foul on George with 4:32 left, even though replays showed Hibbert made contact with James. Hibbert had five fouls at the time.
Hibbert said he wasn’t surprised the Heat fronted him on defense. “They’re the quickest team jumping to the ball we’ve seen in a while,” he said. “They have really good post defenders.”
### The Heat will know more about Chris Bosh’s abdominal strain on Monday, after MRI results are evaluated.
### Indiana was called for 31, compared with 22 for the Heat. George fouled out and Hibbert and Hill (five fouls apiece) also were in foul trouble.
"Foul trouble was huge," George said. "It took us out of everything.''
### The Heat failed to hit a three-pointer for the first time in a playoff game. Miami was 0 for 6.
### The Heat has won 13 straight home playoff games against Eastern Conference teams.
### James reached 15 rebounds for the third time in his postseason career.
### The reason the NBA fined coach Frank Vogel for accusing the Heat of being the league’s biggest floppers? Commissioner David Stern said Vogel was trying to manipulate the referees.
### In the point guard battle, Hill and Collison (10 points apiece) outscored Mario Chalmers, 20-4. Chalmers went 0 for 4 from the field.
### Indiana was the NBA’s fourth-best rebounding team, while the Heat was 21st. But the Heat won the battle on the boards, 45-38, including 15-8 on the offensive boards. Beyond James' 15 boards, Joel Anthony (9 points, seven rebounds, one block) deserves major kudos.