The announcement both feared and expected came Saturday from the Miami Heat: center Chris Bosh will miss the balance of the 2014-15 season due to blood clots on his lung.
"His health will be restored. That's the most important thing," coach Erik Spoelstra said shortly before Saturday night's game against the New Orleans Pelicans, after visiting with Bosh earlier in the day.
"Chris actually is doing very well right now. He is starting to feel better and that is the most important thing."
The team said Bosh remains under the care of team physicians at a Baptist Health Systems Hospital and "is currently resting comfortably."
Bosh has been receiving treatment since midweek for pain in his side, with initial concerns about pneumonia.
According to the team, "Chris is OK and his prognosis is good."
Spoelstra declined to comment on when or if Bosh might eventually resume his career.
"We're not even thinking about that right now," he said. "We'll get a game plan as we continue to get more information."
Teammate Dwyane Wade, who also visited Saturday with Bosh, said he is confident he again will play alongside Bosh.
"For sure," he said. "This is not career ending."
Wade said he was heartened by his visit.
"I tried not to make him laugh too hard," he said. "Obviously that does not feel very good.
"He's been in good spirits. That's the biggest thing. It probably hasn't hit him yet he's going to miss the rest of the season."
Treatment for clots generally includes the administration of blood thinners, which precludes activity such as NBA basketball.
Bosh underwent additional tests Saturday before the team commented officially on his condition.
"The clarity of it all was the most important thing," Spoelstra said. "His health will be able to be restored, and that's bigger than basketball."
For a while, it was touch and go.
"It's extremely frightening," Spoelstra said. "You play through things, and this was obviously something that felt different to Chris."
Teammate Mario Chalmers said the initial thought was Bosh had a cracked rib.
Center Hassan Whiteside said he will miss preparing for games in the locker next to Bosh's, "Sitting next to him, that's what I'll miss."
Heat owner Micky Arison, who is in Europe, expressed optimism on his Twitter account, posting, "You will come back stronger than ever. Your future is very bright."
The Heat went into Saturday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans with 29 games remaining on their regular-season schedule, in position to advance to the playoffs.
Bosh, 30, who is in the first year of a five-year, $118 million contract he signed in July in the wake of LeBron James' free-agent move to the Cleveland Cavaliers, ended his season averaging 21.1 points and 7 rebounds. He will wind up missing 38 games, the most in a season in his career. He had missed 11 total games the previous two seasons.
Spoelstra found his visit heartening.
"C.B. is amazing. He really is," Spoelstra said, "his ability to keep perspective."
Just days after Spoelstra downplayed Bosh's absence from Wednesday's practice, saying he hoped his team's All-Star did not have the flu, the concern turned to the blood clots in Bosh's lung.
Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao and Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic have been forced to sit out the balance of seasons upon being diagnosed with blot clots in their lungs, with Teletovic missing the balance of this season.
This past week, former Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerome Kersey died at 52 from a pulmonary embolism.
With rest and treatment with blood thinners, athletes in such instances have been able to resume their careers, including Florida Panthers forward Tomas Fleischmann.
Free-agent center Andray Blatche is one potential short-term option, a move the Heat could make with the $2.65 million disabled-player salary-cap exception the team holds for the knee injury sustained by Josh McRoberts, who yet could return this season. Also, former Heat forward Michael Beasley, back from a season in China, has been working out at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat also could explore the buyout market. Center Kendrick Perkins, who was traded to the Utah Jazz by the Oklahoma City Thunder this past week, on Saturday received a buyout and now is expected to join the Cleveland Cavaliers. Also on Saturday, the Philadelphia 76ers reached a buyout agreement with forward Andrei Kirlienko.
Bosh participated in last Sunday's All-Star Game in New York and then made a two-day trip to Haiti with his wife, along with Wade and Wade's wife.
Bosh then reported to practice Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena but was sent home by the team.
Bosh had struggled with his play prior to the nine-day NBA All-Star break, but then was in good spirits last Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn when he won the NBA's Shooting Stars competition during All-Star Saturday for the third consecutive year.
email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/iraheatbeat or facebook.com/ira.winderman.