Chris Bosh's status still questionable

Updated: January 20, 2011, 11:18 PM ET
By Michael Wallace | ESPN.com

MIAMI -- Chris Bosh's health is improving, but not well enough for the Miami Heat's starting power forward to test out his sprained left ankle in practice.

Bosh was held out of Thursday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena and it remains uncertain when he might be able to return to action for the Heat (30-13), who are in the midst of a season-long four-game losing streak entering Saturday's visit from the Toronto Raptors.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said there's a chance Bosh could return to practice Friday and participate in some light drill work, but that his playing status remains questionable.

Bosh sustained the injury Saturday in Chicago, when Bulls center Omer Asik inadvertently dove into Bosh's legs as the two were chasing a loose ball. Bosh left the game early in the fourth quarter and did not return. He also did not play in Miami's overtime home loss against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.

"He is feeling better, and we'll continue to evaluate him day to day," Spoelstra said after Thursday's practice. "Maybe he'll do a little bit of movement tomorrow. It's still too early to tell about Saturday."

The Heat have been coping with injuries throughout the season, with forward Udonis Haslem still out recovering from foot surgery in November and swingman Mike Miller gradually working his way back into the rotation after recently returning from thumb surgery in October.

But this is the first time Miami has had to cope with injuries to its marquee three players in Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. James practiced Thursday and said there were no lingering issues with the sprained left ankle that kept him out of two games last week. James returned from the injury absence to finish with 34 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists in 44 minutes during Tuesday's loss.

Wade, who has been dealing with knee soreness at varying points of the season, sat out of practice Thursday for the second time this week. He aggravated the soreness when he bumped knees with Bulls center Kurt Thomas on Saturday. Spoelstra said Wade's absence was a precaution, one that also might keep him out of Friday's practice for additional treatment and rest.

Wade was asked Thursday if his knee issues were a result of the collision with Thomas or general wear and tear from the season.

"It's a combination of it all," Wade said. "[I'm] just being smart about it. Probably if I didn't bump knees with [Thomas], I'd still be smart about it. We're going through a long season, and I've had knee surgery twice. When you've had surgery, you have to do things differently than other guys."

Heat players said the recent rash of injuries won't be used as excuses for their shortcomings on the court. Miami is 0-4 this season when Bosh, James or Wade has missed a game. Bosh's absence especially hurt the Heat because they have limited scoring options in the low post.

"We don't want to look at it as a [major] concern, because we understand that we want him to get healthy," James said. "Every team goes through it. When he's ready, when he feels like he's 100 percent or close to 100 percent and he's ready to come back, we'll be there. We're going to try to hold it down until he comes back, and guys will have to step up."

Michael Wallace covers the Miami Heat for ESPN.com.

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