While a number of experts think that having Chris Bosh back in the starting lineup is exactly what the Heat need to knock out the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, I think he's going to signal the end of the Heat's playoff run.
There's no doubt that the Heat are better with Bosh on the court and in the starting lineup, but we're not talking about Bosh returning from a family emergency or a minor injury.
We're talking about Bosh returning to the court after recovering from an abdominal strain, one that has kept him out of the Heat's starting lineup since May 15th.
Returning to the court after nearly 20 days off doesn't really matter during the regular season. At that point, Bosh would have a game or two to get back into game shape and catch up to the speed of the game.
Unfortunately for Bosh and the Heat, we're not in the regular season anymore.
If Bosh needs a game or two to get back into the swing of things and catch up to the playoff speed of the game, the Heat could be knocked out of the playoffs.
Returning to the starting lineup is something that absolutely can't happen for Chris Bosh. Reinserting him into the lineup wouldn't be in his or the Miami Heat's best interests.
If Bosh does indeed make a return in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, he needs to do so by coming off the bench. Increasing the team's bench production is what the Heat need from Chris Bosh, but even that is a risky move.
I know it sounds absurd to keep Chris Bosh on the bench for the Eastern Conference finals, but the Heat have proved that they can win without him.
Sure, if the Heat lose Game 5 in South Beach with Bosh on the bench, then it's certainly time to bring him back because it would be their only option. But bringing him back for a pivotal Game 5, when he hasn't played a game of basketball for more than 20 days, is foolish.
If the Heat bring back Bosh and lose Game 5, all of the blame will be on Bosh and the decision to bring him back. If they lose Game 5 without Bosh, they still have another game to panic and reinsert him in the starting lineup to come and save the day.
Game 5 isn't the time to bring back Chris Bosh, unless the Heat's ultimate goal is to get knocked out of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals by the Boston Celtics.