More than seven months after being hospitalized with blood clots in his lungs, Heat forward Chris Bosh said Thursday he has been taken off blood thinners and cleared for basketball contact, days before the team opens training camp Tuesday at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
More significantly, Bosh said he was informed by doctors that he does not have the hereditary gene that would make him more vulnerable to a recurrence of the clots that sidelined him for the final 28 games last season.
Still, Bosh knows there are no assurances against a recurrence. He will take preventative measures, such as getting up to walk during flights and stretching his legs, wearing a compression socks and taking Aspirin.
Bosh could not engage in basketball contact while taking blood thinners the past seven months because it would have put him at serious risk if he started bleeding. He said if the clots do return, he would not be required to take blood thinners for the rest of his life.
Bosh spoke introspectively at a news conference at American Airlines Arena, admitting his extended absence from basketball made him appreciate the game more.
“I am almost 7 feet tall; I have things that I can do that people would call a gift,” he said, while promoting Janssen Phamaceuticals and Treatmyclot.com.
“I have the opportunity to go back out there and give passion to the game, because I think I was lacking a little passion for a while. Mentally, I can see myself just really continuing to have an excellent career as far as this season is concerned. It’s such a great game. I came that close to losing it. I would rather be [playing basketball] than have tubes in my chest. That sucks.”
He said he’s also now less likely to bemoan the rigors of an NBA schedule after enduring something so frightening.
“I had a lot of time to think,” he said. “I was in the hospital for about nine days. I couldn’t walk. I was in too much pain. It was quite an experience.”
In recent months, he “cut down a lot of interests I used to have. I’m a ball player. So many people around the world connect with the game. I have this opportunity to play it at the highest level and hopefully inspire children and adults alike to do something positive.”
Bosh said he spent four or five days per week in the gym this summer and has bulked up to 240-245 pounds, his highest weight since joining the Heat in the summer of 2010.
“I wanted to make sure I came in with enough cushion to sustain contact,” he said. “You are going to lose weight. Coach is going to run us. I wanted to have a nice cushion to get to my ideal weight. I know I am going to lose that five or six pounds pretty easily. But the strength and conditioning will be there. I will be the same strength as somebody heavier but lighter and faster.”
Bosh said he’s “excited” about the roster and playing alongside Goran Dragic, who was traded to the Heat on the day Bosh was diagnosed with blood clots. He said not being able to play with Dragic last season “gnawed” at him.
“I have played with players with similar games like Goran; with his talent level, we’ll be able to read and react off each other,” Bosh said. “It’s going to be pretty good when we get to collaborating and talking about things and it will show on the court. I have watched a ton of film on him over the summer, really all of our newcomers.
“I’m a shooter, he’s a driver. He can be a driver; I can be a shooter. We can interchange positions. It’s perfect. I have a very good feeling about how things are going to go.”
Reflecting on missing the playoffs for the first time as a member of the Heat, Bosh said the team didn’t have time to prepare for new roles when LeBron James left last summer.
“It’s like everything that could have gone wrong for us last year went wrong,” he said.
Bosh last month arranged for most of his teammates to join him for several days of basketball and bonding in Los Angeles, where he has a home.
“One thing last year has taught me is the camaraderie is very important,” he said. “We all could have worked a lot harder [on that last summer]. We all assumed it was just going to happen. I just wanted to do something cool. L.A. is a great place.”
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