MIAMI ( – The first member of the Big Three of the Miami Heat to show up for informal workouts for next season was Chris Bosh. The power forward arrived at the AmericanAirlines Arena Thursday morning and was thankful to finally be back on the court.

“It’s good to be back in here,” Bosh said. “We’re a little late, but we’ll take it; better late than never.”

Bosh appeared to have put on roughly 10 – 15 pounds of muscle over the summer. That will be music to the ears of Heat fans who wanted him to become more physical on the block to help clear more space for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Still, Bosh said the offseason of uncertainty was tough to deal with while trying to stay in shape.

“It was very difficult to go hard like training camp would start tomorrow,” Bosh said. “I mean so many times we thought that the season was going to come back. Then the next thing you know it’s done and that breaks your spirits.”

Bosh said that even though the lockout took some very ugly turns as both sides tried to demonize the other, he was trying to remain positive throughout.

“I was always optimistic. I never thought that we weren’t going to play,” Bosh said. “But it was looking bad a few times and people kept asking me and I just didn’t know what to say.”

The Heat will start their season in Dallas against the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs won the title last season by knocking off the Heat and celebrated on the Heat’s home court.

Bosh said the matchup was ironic, but “whatever for the ratings.”

The Heat is the early odds-on favorite to win the 2011-2012 NBA championship. A lot of that will be determined by who Heat president Pat Riley surrounds the Big Three with this season.

But Bosh is confident and ready for the challenge of another season.

“We’re thinking championship and I’m not afraid to say that,” Bosh said.


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