Chris Bosh suffered an abdominal strain in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals and missed Miami's next nine postseason games.  Despite his 9 points and 7 rebounds in his return to game action in Game 5, it will be difficult for Bosh to continue playing unrestricted with the same success he had before the injury. Returning to the court for Game 5 was definitely a boost for the team and for the psychology of Bosh himself but can the Heat increase his minutes?

There is no question about the talents of Chris Bosh as a power forward that has the ability to shoot free throws, hit jump shots and drive to the basket. Each game begs the question regarding how much Bosh will the Heat have at their disposal in Game 6?

It has been over three weeks since his injury and even with optimal rehabilitation there are many questions remaining. Some of the questions are whether his injury was milder than originally thought or is the injury progressing quicker than expected or does rehabilitation need to go a possible six weeks? Is he really returning it full play?

The lower abdominal muscles may not seem to be that important but they are. This is especially true in regards to Bosh's style of play. Bosh was injured as he drove for a dunk and in this type of action the lower abdominal muscles are very important.

There are four main muscles groups of the abdomen: transversus abdominus, rectus abdominus, internal obliques muscles and the external oblique muscles. The transversus abdominus and the internal obliques muscles are the most important of these muscles in offering support to the back and stabilizing the spine.

When you drive for a dunk you need to move quickly with power. At the same time the legs are moving, you also need to stabilize your spine to maintain balance. The spine needs to continue to be stabilized as a base from which to dunk when you are in the air. This stabilization requires using the abdominal muscles.

In conjunction with the speed when you drive for a dunk, there is also an abrupt starting and stopping motion that puts pressure on the muscles that stabilize the spine. The force is even greater if the muscles are being stretched when they are trying to contract for stabilization. If the back is extended just prior to dunking, this puts a greater force on the abdominal muscles that are trying to contract and can add to the strain and possibly the amount of injury to the abdominal muscles.

Once injured, the muscles become inflamed and sore. The inflammation phase can often take two to three weeks in order to completely settle. Even after the inflammation phase settles, the muscles can be easily irritated and cause inflammation to return.

One of the truths in sports medicine is that once injured you have to come back stronger. That means coming back stronger than you were at the time of the injury. This helps prevents occurrence of re-injury and helps the muscles from becoming irritated or inflamed when returning to play.

Coming back stronger means better endurance of the muscles, better flexibility and better strength. Also in Bosh's case, he also needs better explosive power of the muscles because of his style of play. Achieving all of that is difficult within just four weeks of rehabilitation. Being ready for his particular style of play is a lot to expect at this point in rehabilitation. 

Bosh's initial Game 5 appearance was just an introduction back to the court. An important player like Bosh shouldn't return to playing his regular minutes unless he has been cleared to play without restriction. Before each game, the Heat will have to make a decision on how much to play their All-Star forward. However, they also have to balance his health with their championship aspirations.