The Miami Heat was dealt another devastating blow on Wednesday, December 1, after the NBA announced their punishment against the franchise for their sign-and-trade deal for Kyle Lowry, it was revealed that All-Star Bam Adebayo suffered an injury that will keep him out indefinitely.
Miami Heat’s official Twitter account announced that “Adebayo suffered a torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his right thumb” during the team’s 120-110 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Monday night. Adebayo will undergo surgery this weekend.
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While the Heat noted that “a timetable on his return will be provided post-surgery,” Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winder tweeted that Adebayo is expected “to miss approximately six weeks.”
With that timetable, Adebayo could be set tot return in January 2022. He’s expcted to miss an estimated 20 games.
Adebayo, who won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer, was having a stellar season thus far. The 24-year-old is averaging 18.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. The former 14th overall pick is also shooting 51.9% from the field.
Even with a busted thumb, Adebayo still managed to put up 24 points in 35 minutes of play against the Nuggets.
The Kentucky alum is in the midst of the first season of his five-year, $163 million contract extension he signed last year. It seems nothing good happens to the Heat when playing Denver this season. Heat forward Markieff Morris hasn’t played since Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic nailed him with a blindside hit on November 8.
Dewayne Dedmon Will Step Up to Replace Adebayo’s Starting Spot
The Heat will replace Adebayo in the starting lineup with his backup, Dewayne Dedmon, a true 7-footer who’s proved himself to be a reliable backup.
“He has been so vital to our team,” Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra said of the 32-year-old veteran. “He’s a big big, as Pat [Riley] likes to say, and he makes his presence felt. Defensively, he’s one of our best communicators, if not our best communicator. He’s big at the rim. He protects the rim. He gives us a different kind of feel at that center position than Bam.
“And he has a great knack for the ball — offensive rebounding, sliding into open spots, making himself available so he can finish in the paint. And he has a good touch for a big. We couldn’t be happier with the minutes and productivity he’s giving from that position.”
As a backup for Dedmon, the Heat have another 7-footer on their roster, Omer Yurtseven, who could be in line to gain a lot more minutes now that Adebayo is out.
The Heat Still Have 1 Open Roster Spot, But It’s Unlikely to Get Filled Right Away
The Heat only have 14 players on their active roster, which means team president Pat Riley could sign a free agent center to help fill the now gaping hole that is Adebayo’s absence.
However, Miami is just $450,000 under the salary cap, and signing anyone, even at a veteran’s minimum contract, would require the team to get hit by the ominous luxury tax.
The Heat also won’t qualify for assistance from the league while Adebayo remains out. Winderman reported that “because he is not deemed to be lost for the season, the Heat would not receive salary-cap relief to add a replacement player.”
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