The good news coming out of Miami Heat practice is that injured stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler both practiced. The bad news is that neither player will be on the basketball court on Wednesday night in Atlanta.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra provided the latest injury updates during his media availability on Tuesday. The biggest takeaway being that Adebayo is trending in the right direction. The one-time All-Star center underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb on December 7. He was expected to miss four to six weeks, but optimism ran high on a quicker recovery when he surprisingly joined the Heat on their seven-game road trip.
“We’re just happy that he’s been able to basically work since three days after the surgery,” Spoelstra said of Adebayo, via Brendan Tobin. “He’s basically been doing everything, conditioning, getting up and down the court – from that standpoint, he’s been very involved and I think that’s been very good for him, his spirits, his positivity, and it’s been great for us having him around, especially on this last road trip. He’s still leading and encouraging guys and when you see him working, it’s hard not to get just encouraged and also inspired.”
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Spoelstra Rules Jimmy Butler Out
Jimmy Butler is recovering from an ankle injury and won’t play against the Hawks on Wednesday night. He suffered the injury on January 3 against Golden State where he had to be helped off the court in a scary scene. Many had feared a torn ACL for the five-time All-Star, but he avoided the worst. He’s been making progress, according to Spoelstra.
“Jimmy did go through practice,” Spoelstra told reporters on Tuesday. “He will not play tomorrow [January 12 at Atlanta] but he is definitely making progress for us.”
Butler was averaging 23.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists per game through 23 contests in 2021. Meanwhile, injured big man Dewayne Dedmon (knee) practiced and remains questionable. Marcus Garrett (conditioning), KZ Okpala (wrist), Markieff Morris (neck, COVID-19) are all out for Miami against the Hawks. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. on January 12.
Heat Organization Believes in Underdogs
Guard Kyle Guy recently inked a second 10-day contract as rumors persist that the team might keep him on the roster for the long-term. The Virginia product has brought energy to the bench while putting up 9.8 points and 2.6 assists per game. He has provided solid minutes in the backcourt with guys like Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Caleb Martin out due to COVID-19.
Guy talked about being an “underdog” his whole life and how the Heat organization embraced him from the start. He’s been a perfect fit in South Beach and hopes his stay gets extended again.
“The organization believes in the underdog and I’ve had to reprove myself at every level,” Guy told reporters, via Brendan Tobin. “I got drafted, didn’t sniff the league the first year playing in the G League, and then I played in 30 games, whatever last year, did solid but no contract, go to the G League. So I’ve had to do this before which I’m super appreciative of that perspective but it definitely helps seeing guys like Gabe [Vincent], Max [Strus], even Duncan [Robinson], be able to get contracts.”