Spoelstra: If Bosh plays, it'll be off bench

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Spoelstra: If Bosh plays, it'll be off bench

MIAMI If Chris Bosh takes to the floor tonight for the Miami Heat, he'll do so from an unfamiliar position - as a bench player.

In what appears to be more about strategy than uncertainty, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Chris Bosh (abdominal strain) would come off the bench if in fact, he does play tonight.

Despite all signs and indications pointing toward tonight as Bosh's return to the court, Spoelstra told the media moments ago that Bosh remains a game-time decision as to whether he will play.

"We'll make an evaluation before the game," Spoelstra said.

If he does play, Spoelstra said it would be in "short bursts."

Spoelstra added, "if it's determined that he's not ready to go tonight, it's not a setback. It means another day of work and possibly he'll be ready for the next game."

Bosh suffered an abdominal strain in the Heat's second-round series against Indiana, and has missed the last nine playoff games.

In that span, the Heat are 5-4.

The Celtics have approached every game in this series anticipating that Bosh would be on the floor for Miami.

So the uncertainty of his availability is not going to impact the C's heading into tonight's game.

"It may give you an advantage, especially if you're not going to play him," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "The (other) team spends time, wasting time, working on if he's going to play. I would do the same thing. I wouldn't tell you until late. But I don't know if it matters one way or another."

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
 
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. 
 
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
 
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season. 
 
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday. 
 
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
 
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
 
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
 
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious. 
 
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio. 
 
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
 
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart. 
 
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.