MIAMI The Boston Celtics will continue preparing as though Chris Bosh will play for the Miami Heat tonight, even as Heat coach Erik Spoelstra remains non-committal on the all-star forward's availability.
After Miami's shoot-around this morning, Spoelstra said Bosh went through the entire shoot-around, but his availability won't be determined until shortly before tip-off.
"He Bosh was able to go through a workout yesterday; he was able to go through shoot-around today," Spoelstra said. "We'll just have to continue to evaluate."
No one knows if the Heat are legitimately unsure if Bosh will return tonight after missing the last nine games with an abdominal strain, or whether Miami is simply keeping it under wraps to keep the C's guessing.
Miami Heat players repeatedly said they don't know if Bosh will play, although all indications based on his workouts with the team point towards his return to the lineup being tonight.
"He looks comfortable in what we've been able to do," said Heat forward LeBron James. "I think we all know a shoot-around or walk-through practice is totally different from what we've been doing on the floor as far as game time. We'll see."
Added Dwyane Wade: "He's been out for a while. Whenever he gets back on the floor, it'll take him a while to get his rhythm back."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers has no idea if Bosh will play. But he has maintained that the C's have prepared as though they would see Bosh in each of the four previous games.
So from Boston's standpoint, knowing whether he plays until shortly before game time won't have any impact on them in terms of their game preparation.
But in terms of the actual game, Bosh's return has the potential to indeed be a game-changer.
"We definitely have to be aware. He's another big scoring threat for them," said C's Paul Pierce. "He can really put up some big numbers on any given night."
Added Pierce. "If he plays, he plays. We'll have a game plan for him. If not, we'll go as we go."
Even if the Heat do know one way or another about Bosh's availability, Rivers said he would probably keep it to himself until the last minute, too.
"It may give you an advantage, especially if you're not going to play him," Rivers said. "The 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."