I’m not saying it’s a large part. Maybe it’s just a tiny part. It’s human. It’s OK to be human. It’s OK to want to be missed.
So I’m guessing if you’re Chris Bosh, and you’re sidelined for the remainder of this second-round playoff series against Indiana because of a strained abdominal muscle, there’s a part of you that wants this short-handed Heat team to crumble because the task of beating the Pacers proved too much for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Alright, maybe you don’t want to lose to Indy. Maybe Boston. Or Oklahoma City. But you get the idea.
If you’re Bosh, part of you has to want the Heat to lose.
Because here’s the other way to look at it: if you’re Chris Bosh, one of your worst nightmares is for this Heat team to win the title in your absence.
If Bosh thought last offseason was rough after the Heat lost to Dallas in the Finals, imagine what he’d hear if the Heat won the title without him. The “Get Rid of Bosh” chatter would be deafening.
I’m not saying Bosh should want Miami to lose if he’s not on the court. I’m saying I’d understand if there was a part of Bosh that wouldn’t mind seeing Miami lose if he’s not on the court. If Wade and James can’t get it done without the third element of the Big Three, his value is legitimized.
Now, before we get way ahead of ourselves, no one has declared Bosh, the most underappreciated All-Star in the NBA, out for the remainder of the playoffs.
“We’ll see how my body responds,” he said Monday. “If I came back, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.”
The Heat hasn’t said when Bosh will return. They’ve said there’s no timetable for his return, which pretty much fits in with Heat protocol. No one forces them to declare when Bosh will return, so they don’t.
However, if Bosh is out for, say, three weeks, or anything close to that, he might not make a meaningful contribution in the postseason.
If Bosh is out for three weeks, a relatively long absence, you have to figure it might take another week or so to get back in basketball shape, meaning he’d probably need to play a couple of games. Now you’re talking about close to four weeks to fully recover. The Finals are almost over by that time, mid-June.
But again, let’s slow down.
All we know is Bosh pretty much said he’s out for the remainder of the Indiana series.
“The season has to be extended for me to play again,” he said after Monday’s practice.
If that doesn’t happen, however, a title in his absence would be bad for Bosh. Very bad.
As it is, if you’re Bosh you have a hard time convincing fans and media both locally and nationally of your immense value to this team. This is a guy who averaged 18 points and nearly 8 rebounds during the regular season. And he made the All-Star team. He was voted in by coaches. They know his value.
Yet fans and media constantly doubt Bosh’s value to this team, they doubt his contribution to the Big Three. They do it on a regular basis.
The bizarre thing is that this Miami Heat postseason, even for a split second, has become about Bosh, clearly the most low-profile member of the Big Three.
But here we are. Life is sometimes strange in that way. Life also manages to cut to the bottom line at some point, and in a way that’s what happening here.
This injury is about more than an injury. It’s about Bosh. That’s the early returns from a vocal segment of fans and media.
Yeah, we’re talking about radio call-in shows, responses on blogs and national TV. Sorry. It’s about as scientific as things can get right now.
The point is there’s another battle going on here, and it’s the battle of public perception, both locally and nationally.
A Miami Heat season that was scheduled to be a referendum on whether James can come through in the Finals has now, in part, become a referendum on Bosh.
Is he soft? Can he play with pain?
Does the Heat need him to win the title?
Does the Heat need him to beat Indiana?
There’s no doubt Bosh is the “other guy” among the Big Three. He’s the one everyone loves to clown. Shaq once called him the Ru Paul of NBA centers. ESPN’s Skip Bayless called him Bosh Spice. The average, every day NBA follower (or media member) always has some snide remark about Bosh.
Maybe the best way for Bosh to prove his value to this franchise is by his absence. Maybe the best way for everyone both locally and nationally to understand what Bosh means to the Big Three is for Miami to lose in his absence.
And I’d understand if Bosh felt that way.
Chris Perkins is a regular contributor to SheridanHoops.com, covering the NBA and the Miami Heat. His columns regularly appear every Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter.