Chris Bosh makes trip to Charlotte to support Heat teammates
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Dwyane Wade asked Chris Bosh to send him text messages during the Miami Heat's playoff trip to Charlotte, hoping his fellow All-Star would offer feedback on what he was seeing back home on television.
Bosh apparently wanted a different view.
For the first time since the All-Star break, Bosh was with the Heat for a road game Saturday - joining his teammates in Charlotte for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Hornets.
''He brings a steadying influence, a leadership at all levels - even when he's not on the floor,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''That is why I always lean on him. He's like another coach. He has been through our system and sees the game through a different lens than most players. All of that helps.''
Bosh was not made available for interviews.
Bosh missed the final 29 games of the regular season after a blood clot was found in his left calf during the All-Star break in Toronto. It was the second consecutive year in which his regular season came to an end because of a clot detected at All-Star time, though the situation this February was not as dire as the one he dealt with in 2015.
He has been at many home games during his absence, sometimes on the bench, sometimes watching from the team's locker room area.
''He's supportive,'' Wade said this week. ''Obviously, he can't be out there with us. But when he's watching the games, when he's at some of the games, I asked him to give us some of his leadership. I told him, `please hit me, text me when I'm on the road, let me know what you see so I can give it to the guys.'
''This is his team still. He's just unable to play right now.''
Bosh averaged 19.1 points this season. The Heat still have not definitively ruled Bosh out for the remainder of the playoffs, and other than issuing one statement saying the clot in his leg was gone Bosh has not offered any updates on his health status in more than two months.
Meanwhile, teammates have raved about what Bosh has been able to do while sidelined.
Heat center Hassan Whiteside said he gets regular tips from Bosh on how to handle certain situations. Rookie guard Josh Richardson said his second-half emergence in the Miami rotation was due in some part to time he spent studying video with Bosh. And other players revealed that an impromptu speech by Bosh to the team before this series started was one of the season's most emotional and powerful moments.
''It's hard for him not to be out there in the playoffs,'' Wade said. ''He wants to be there. But whatever he can do, he's willing to do.''
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.