Akshay Manwani Freelance writer based in Mumbai

In an attempt to rid himself of the perils of performance appraisals, Akshay ventured into the world of freelance writing where he combined his twin interests of sports and cinema. He has since contributed to The Caravan, BCCI.tv, Business Standard and Man's World, among other publications. He has followed the fortunes of the NBA since the early ’90s, an experience that has given him extraordinary moments of joy in an otherwise mundane existence.

All season long, Akshay will cover the League from the point of view of a basketball expert living in India. Follow him every week on NBA.com/india!

Wrong Injury, Wrong Time, Wrong Player

There’s never a good time to get an injury. Not during the regular season. It’s worse if it’s in the Playoffs. Absolutely rotten if happens in the NBA Finals. And possibly catastrophic if you go by the name of Chris Bosh.

Bosh, who strained a lower abdominal muscle in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Miami Heat and Indians Pacers, faces the unhappy situation of probably sitting out the entire second round and even more. “You never know with these kind of things how long it takes,” Miami all-star Dwyane Wade said in reaction to Bosh’s injury.

The Heat already felt Bosh’s absence in Game 2 when the rest of the team, besides Wade and LeBron James, were just not good enough to outlast the Pacers. Where Bosh, who contributed 13 points and was 6-for-11 from the floor in just one half of Game 1, the Heat’s supporting cast shot just 9-of-34 in the 75-78 Game 2 loss to the Pacers.

Clearly, the Heat needed Bosh to be up and running in the postseason. Not just for the fact that Bosh, a career 19.8 PPG and 9.1 RPG player, is potent at both ends of the floor, but also because the 2012 postseason gives Bosh another chance to make his own mark for the franchise and step out of James and Wade’s shadow.

Remember Bosh joined the Heat not only with LeBron in the 2010 offseason, but also signed up for pretty much the same price with Miami as James for a six-year contract. However, while James has continued to play at a spectacular level and taken the heat for whenever Miami have failed, Bosh has simply not delivered proportionately to the tag of ‘Super Friends’ in his time with Wade and James.

In last year’s NBA finals, when the Heat were outclassed 2-4 by a more well-rounded Dallas Mavericks outfit, Bosh averaged 18.5 PPG, which was not too far off from his career PPG mark. However, what hurt the Heat (among other things) in that series was that Bosh went only 39-92 (42.39 percent) for someone who shot a career 49.2 percent from the field. Even his rebounding at 7.33 RPG was well below his career numbers.

Before that finals matchup against the Dirk Nowitzki-led Mavs, Bosh had endured an even more forgettable series against the Celtics. The 6-foot-11 Texas native scored just 12.8 PPG on 21-for-52 shooting (40.38 percent) in the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals, but fortunately had Wade and James, who came up big to deliver a 4-1 series win for the Heat.

Such performances from Bosh have often either led to the Heat being labeled as ‘Two and a half men’ or has forced the experts to focus their attention only on Wade and LeBron so far as Miami’s basketball fortunes are concerned.

This might be a little unfair to Bosh, who prior to the 2011 postseason had never been past the first round of the NBA playoffs. In seven seasons with the Toronto Raptors, Bosh made it to the playoffs only in 2007 and 2008. On both occasions, the Raptors were put away by their opponents, by the New Jersey Nets in six in 2007 and by the Orlando Magic in five in 2008. So if the 2011 postseason was possibly a whole new experience for Bosh, the 2012 playoffs gave us the opportunity to see if Bosh was the kind of player who learnt from his past.

Bosh, I suspect, also has the most to lose if Miami finishes anywhere less than with the NBA championship in their hands at the end of this year’s campaign. Should that be the case, two of the six seasons that Wade, James and Bosh had committed themselves to with the Heat in the 2010 offseason would have flown by without Miami having won anything. For a chapter that began with the rather hubristic declaration of “Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven… We believe we can multiple championships if we take care of business.” by James, coming up cropper the first two years, therefore, would certainly have repercussions. And one of those could be that Bosh, not exactly of the same mettle or caliber as James and Wade, is traded to give the Heat a more well-rounded bunch of players to address their shortcomings.

But now with his injury confining him to the sidelines, Bosh is rendered a mere spectator as Miami grapples with its fate in the 2012 playoffs.

Some injuries, like I said, can be catastrophic.

All stats are after games played on May 16, 2012 (IST)