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The Celtics expect to see Chris Bosh in a uniform soon.Celtics coach Doc Rivers said his team has prepared each game during the Eastern Conference finals as if Miami's Chris Bosh would be available and suggested Boston will be ready whenever the Heat bring him back.
"We have (planned for him) every game, so we don’t have to do anything different," Rivers said during a conference call after the team landed in Miami on Monday. "We’ve prepared every game like Bosh is going to play, eventually he will -- it may be tomorrow."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra now considers the injured Bosh day to day, but it's uncertain whether the All-Star forward will play in Wednesday's Game 5 at AmericanAirlines Arena. Speaking on Monday, Spoelstra indicated that Bosh has made significant progress in his rehab from an abdominal strain suffered in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
"It's premature to say he'll definitively play," Spoelstra said. "The reality is that this is not a normal situation. (The situation) is heightened and it is extreme. We have to be judicious in our evaluations."
Multiple sources told ESPN.com on Sunday that the Heat are hoping to activate the seven-time All-Star for Game 5 if he doesn't suffer a setback. Bosh declined to discuss his status following the Heat's 93-91 overtime loss to the Celtics on Sunday.
While Rivers admitted that Bosh's presence on offense will help stretch the floor and will likely prevent Boston from trapping Dwyane Wade as aggressively at the start of this series, Rivers doesn't believe Bosh's return will dissuade the Celtics from continuing to try to get Kevin Garnett touches around the basket.
"I don’t know how different it’ll be. I think Kevin’s going to try to post up whoever they throw out there and we’re going to try to post him up," Rivers said. "It’s just another body. Chris is obviously very talented, poses his own problems, but I don’t think Kevin will be that concerned with whoever is there."
Rivers said he doesn't think the Heat will encounter many issues reintegrating Bosh to the lineup.
"It hasn’t been that long," Rivers said. "I think it’s more challenging when he’s been out a long time. For the player, you just want him to be him. I think a lot of players come back (hesitantly), especially if your team is playing well -- you kind of don’t want to kind of get in the way. As a coach, you do want him to get in the way. You want him to play the way he plays, you don’t want him to play any differently. I’m sure that’s what they will do with Chris."
Rivers did think Bosh's return would impact the Celtics' ability to go small. While the team has found success utilizing smaller lineups, Boston will have to lean harder on bigs like Greg Stiemsma and Ryan Hollins once Bosh is back.
"One of them will play more, (the Heat will) stay big," said Rivers. "The fact that we’ve had success with the small lineup will probably change with Bosh playing -- they won’t go as small. That’ll change the way we have to play."
Information from the Heat Index's Tom Haberstroh was used.