Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 5/29/12
MIAMI -- The best advice for Chris Bosh now is to dote over his four-month-old son Jackson, kick back reading his iPad and perhaps watch some games involving his beloved Texas Rangers. As for basketball, sure, continue with the rehab work. But the next time he's needed for a game isn't until the NBA Finals start June 10 or 12. The Miami Heat don't need Bosh to beat the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. Have you seen Ray Allen limping like Chester from the legendary Gunsmoke show? Have you seen how bad their bench is? One of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's favorite phrases when a player is injured is, "We have enough to win." Bosh has been out since suffering an abdominal strain May 13 against Indiana, and the Heat definitely have enough to win the East without him. But they probably can't win the NBA title without the big man. That's when they really must have Bosh to battle against San Antonio or Oklahoma City. For now, the Heat don't need to be in any rush. And that's pretty much how they're progressing considering the tricky nature of an abdominal injury. "That's the way we're treating it right now," Spoelstra said when asked Tuesday about how with each Heat win it buys more time in Bosh's healing process. "Right now, we don't have expectations at this point." Well, there should at least be an expectation for Bosh, listed as being out indefinitely, to be back for the Finals. If he's re-injured then, he's got the entire offseason to heal. As for getting through the East without Bosh, it looks like no sweat. You say the Heat miss his rebounding? Just take a look at what forward LeBron James has done lately. In an East semifinal against Indiana, which included Bosh being hurt in the first half of Game 1, James averaged 10.8 rebounds in the 4-2 win. In Monday's 93-89 Game 1 triumph over Boston, James yanked down 13 boards. "I just think without CB down there, he knows he's got more responsibility," Heat forward Shane Battier said of James really tearing it up on the glass after he had averaged 7.9 rebounds during the regular season. "I think that he's made a more concerted effort." How about scoring? During the regular season, the Big Three of guard Dwyane Wade, James and Bosh combined to averaged 67.2 points per game. In the past four games, with James and Wade having adjusted quite well to playing without Bosh and having won each time comfortably, they've combined to average 62.8 per night. That's not all that different when one considers scoring in the playoffs often goes down. Miami is averaging 95.3 points in the postseason after putting up 98.5 a game in the regular season. If the Celtics weren't so depleted, they could take advantage of Bosh being out. But Allen is a shell of himself playing on a bad right ankle. And shooting guard Avery Bradley, a guy who gave Wade some problems defending him during the regular season, was lost for the season last week with a shoulder problem. Boston's bench has become an embarrassment to a franchise that introduced the concept of the Sixth Man. Who's the Sixth Man now? Must be Mickael Pietrus, whose playoff scoring average of 3.4 points might be microscopic but is the highest of any Boston reserve. And, yes, the Celtics are old even if center Kevin Garnett, 36, is suddenly looking as if he's 26. Paul Pierce, 34, has had some great playoff battles at small forward with James over the years. But Pierce can't stay with James nearly as effectively anymore, with the Heat star having outscored him 32-12 in Game 1. Allen, 36, also has no hope of hanging with Wade at shooting guard. Wade outscored him 22-6 in Game 1. So it's no wonder Wade's message to Bosh is to take his time as the Heat prepare for Wednesday's Game 2 against the Celtics at AmericanAirlines Arena. "When he decides to come back, it's because he's comfortable with coming back and he doesn't feel the pain of the injury," Wade said. "There's no need for him to come back, especially at this time of the year when you're in the Eastern Conference finals, to rush it back. We understand his injury. We know that it's not an easy one to come back from." Bosh is making strides. He did some court work Sunday and Monday for the first time, although Spoelstra stressed it was more part of his rehab routine rather than basketball stuff. "Considering where he was and how we all felt when he was walking off the court, this is incredible progress," Spoelstra said of the period since Bosh was injured. Bosh on Monday watched a game from the Heat bench for the first time since he was hurt. He even was hanging around beforehand as if he had been planning to play. "It's nice to have him around," Spoelstra said. "I even saw him in his normal perch before the game sitting in the players' lounge reading off his iPad. It made me feel like he was about ready to (play in) a normal game even though he's not." For now, there doesn't need to be any thought of rushing Bosh back during the East finals. James and Wade are handling matters just fine, thank you. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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