Heat Star Dishes on His Big Comeback & His Teammates

Bam Adebayo Heat

Getty Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo poses for a photo during the team's 2021 media day.

Following a seven-week stint on the sidelines as he recovered from surgery to repair a torn UCL, Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo finally made his return to the lineup on Tuesday. As one might expect, the one-time All-Star was a just little bit rusty in the effort.

Adebayo started at center and played 31 minutes right off the bat, but was just 4-of-12 from the floor in the game. Still, he finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block. And the Heat were able to hang on and beat the Toronto Raptors, 104-99.

The 24-year-old was really just focused on finding his footing after the extended absence, though.

“Today was about trying to get back in the groove,” Adebayo said post-game. “My teammates tried to get me involved, but we just played ball and just figured it out. We got the win and that’s always good in your first game back when you get the W, and that’s the thing that matters the most.”


Adebayo Missed Playing With His Teammates More Than Anything


'13 IS BACK!' – Bam Adebayo emotional after first game back from injury | NBA on ESPNBam Adebayo describes his emotional return to the court and thanks fans for their support after missing 22 games with a thumb injury since early December, following the Miami Heat's 104-99 victory over the Toronto Raptors. (Courtesy: "Heat/Bally Sports) ☑️ Subscribe to ESPN+: plus.espn.com/ 📱Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn 🏀 Subscribe to NBA on ESPN…2022-01-18T03:39:05Z

Considering everything else that was going on at the time, Adebayo’s teammates did remarkably well in keeping Miami afloat while he was out. That said, there’s no doubting the fact that the big man was missed, and the feeling was definitely mutual.

“The biggest thing I missed was getting to be in the game enjoying your teammates’ success,” Adebayo said. “Being out there, being in the environment where the crowd is rocking.”

As Adebayo sees it, being part of the crew even as he was engaged in a lengthy rehab process is what allowed him to preserve his sanity as the days and weeks went by.

“If I wasn’t around the team, I would have been bored out of my mind, honestly,” he confessed. “It was great to be around the team, feeding my energy into them and finding a way to impact basketball without being on the court.”

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Coach Spo & Gabe Vincent Weigh In

For his part, Heat guard Gabe Vincent revealed that Adebayo was beyond hyped for his big comeback.

“I texted him last night to get some sleep,” Vincent said after the win. “I already knew he wasn’t going to sleep. It’s like a kid getting ready for the first day of school. He hit me back that he couldn’t sleep, he was too excited.”

Meanwhile, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra noted that Adebayo’s return was a big moment for the team as well as the player.

“Just from the human side of it, it was just great to have him back out there,” Spoelstra said. “He was so anxious and so excited and he has been beside himself for like the last week, and you can see his energy out there. He makes us different. That’s probably the biggest thing that he does. Just that uncommon versatility just makes us different on both ends of the court. His rhythm and timing and all that stuff will continue to get better. But it was certainly great to have him back in the mix.”

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