Bosh out indefinitely
Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat were relieved by the diagnosis. It's the prognosis - or lack of one - that's a source of worry now. And suddenly, the Indiana Pacers may be even more of a threat.
Bosh strained a lower abdominal muscle in Game One of the teams' Eastern Conference semi-final series, that original diagnosis confirmed yesterday after an MRI exam. The team said Bosh is out "indefinitely,'' though coach Erik Spoelstra and others say the injury could have been worse.
Either way, Bosh is out for Game Two today and sounds like he probably won't play again in this series.
"This season has to be extended for me to play again,'' Bosh said. "So that's what's on my mind.''
Bosh was hurt late in the first half as he drove for a dunk and got fouled by Indiana's Roy Hibbert. The foul almost certainly played no role in the injury, as Bosh fell forward to his hands and knees after landing and stayed down for a few seconds. He got up and made his free throw, but dropped to the court again on the ensuing possession, leaving the game for evaluation.
Without Bosh, Miami rallied behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who outscored the Pacers 42-38 in the second half themselves and fuelled a series-opening 95-86 win.
"Seeing him yesterday, seeing the pain he was in, you feared the worst," Wade said as practice wrapped up yesterday. "But seeing him downstairs in the training room with a smile on his face - it wasn't a big smile, it was a little one - but just to see him in there, it was good.
"You never know with these kind of things how long it takes.''
It'll be an adjustment for Miami, which will likely start either Ronny Turiaf or Joel Anthony at centre and keep Udonis Haslem in the opening line-up at power forward - and that trio earned a tip of the cap from Indiana coach Frank Vogel yesterday when he called them "three of the best dirty-work guys in the business".
James will see some time at power forward as well, which isn't uncommon for Miami anyway.
The Pacers will also be doing some adjusting as well, after spending the buildup to this series preparing for James, Wade and Bosh.
''It changes their team, but we've got to understand it doesn't allow you to play 5-on-4,'' Vogel said. ''They've got great players they can fill in for him. They've got different lineups that are sometimes more effective than the lineup with Bosh. Obviously, not having to worry about Bosh helps because he's such a terrific player.''