MIAMI – Chris Bosh is still hurting, and his Olympic plans are being pushed aside so he can heal.
The Miami Heat forward told USA Basketball on Friday that he is withdrawing from consideration for the London Games so he can continue recovering from the strained abdominal muscle that sidelined him for a portion of his team's run to the NBA championship. Bosh announced the decision through agent Henry Thomas one day after Heat teammate Dwyane Wade pulled out of the Olympic mix because of looming left knee surgery.
"This injury was a pretty serious one," Thomas said. "He was able to come back and play under the circumstances because he was trying to contribute to them winning a championship. There's still pain. There's still discomfort. And the real concern is if he doesn't rest and do the rehab associated with the injury, this could become sort of a chronic thing for him."
Bosh released a statement through USA Basketball, saying he was confident the Americans would successfully defend their gold medal.
"I am extremely disappointed to say that due to injury, I cannot represent my country," he said.
Bosh made the decision after consulting with Heat team physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick and others. Bosh, who played for the "Redeem Team" that won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, called USA Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and team chairman Jerry Colangelo on Friday to deliver the word.
"He wanted to be part of it," Thomas said. "It was a great experience in '08. Feels like it could be another one. The exposure he would get being part of that team is something he would like. But at the end of the day, his health going forward is more important than all of those things."
Heat President Pat Riley said after the NBA draft ended late Thursday night that the team was leaving the decision on whether to play in London up to Bosh.
"It's based upon the need to rest and continue to rehab the injury," Thomas said. "He got his first taste of it in '08 and it was a great experience. But I think in talking to the doctors about it, they said you could play, but you'd be putting yourself at risk."
With Wade and now Bosh out, there are 16 players left for 12 spots on the U.S. Olympic team — with LeBron James the lone Heat representative remaining on the national team roster. The team convenes in Las Vegas next week to start training camp, then has five exhibitions with international teams before opening Olympic play against France on July 29.
Wade and Bosh join a list of stars unable to play in London because of injuries, including Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard.
"He'll be missed, but we have to move on," Colangelo said. "I feel very confident about our roster going forward. ... Adversity gives people opportunity and guess what? It's going to open up a couple of roster positions."
USA Basketball plans to announce the Olympic roster around July 7.
"We're totally supportive of Chris and hope he recovers fully for his season next year," Krzyzewski said. "We'll miss him. He was really a key player for us in winning the gold in 2008 and we thank him for his service to USA Basketball. I really loved coaching him."
Bosh averaged 9.1 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting 77.4 percent from the field to help the U.S. finish 8-0 and win the gold medal in Beijing.
Wade, who has the same agent as Bosh, said he learned of his teammate's decision Thursday.
"We want him to be healthy," Wade said. "I'm sure it was a tough decision just like it was for me, even though there's only so much I can do. Tough decision. We enjoyed our Olympic experience and the biggest thing is I enjoyed the camaraderie with the guys. ... We built a brotherhood. We built a bond."
Bosh was injured late in the first half of Game 1 of Miami's second-round series against Indiana. He wound up missing nine games, returning late in the Eastern Conference title series against the Boston Celtics.
Bosh scored 19 points in Miami's Game 7 win against the Celtics, sending the Heat into the NBA Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Bosh averaged 14.6 points and 9.4 rebounds in the title series, with Miami winning in five games.
The championship completed an emotional two months for Bosh, who briefly left the Heat during their first-round series against New York in order to see the birth of his son. He dealt with the injury in the second round, and he and his wife mourned the death of a masseuse they employed later in the playoffs.
"I think for all of us, especially for me, everything that I've been through, just fighting, just acting like I don't hear stuff, and just having the perseverance to keep pushing forward is just a sweet feeling," Bosh said last week when the Heat won the title. "I know a bunch of people made fun of me and said I was soft, but you can't be soft playing this game."
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