Miami Heat star Kyle Lowry went down hard after drawing a charge early in the first quarter against the Utah Jazz on Saturday. Lowry remained down on the court after taking an elbow to the face from Utah’s Donovan Mitchell.
The 35-year-old point guard was eventually able to limp off the court with medical assistance and headed to the locker room. After a scary few minutes, however, Lowry was thankfully able to check back in the game.
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“Elbow to the face for Lowry,” Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman tweeted. “NBA concussion protocol could come into play,” noting that Lowry looked “wobbly” as he entered the Heat locker room.
After Lowry left the game, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra put Gabe Vincent in to fill his spot. Lowry’s inability to return would’ve been a huge blow for Miami as they entered Saturday’s game with All-Star Jimmy Butler (ankle) and Markieff Morris (whiplash) already ruled out.
Lowry Suffered an Ankle Injury Earlier This Month
During Heat’s 97-78 loss to the Boston Celtics at the FTX Arnea on November 4, Lowry hopped off the court in the third quarter and never returned. The former Raptors star fell to the ground after his teammate, sharpshooter Duncan Robinson, crashed into the team’s starting point guard attempting to draw a charge, causing his left ankle to roll at an awkward angle.
This is the second time this season that Lowry has injured his ankle. During the Heat’s season opener, there was a heart-stopping moment when he rolled on his right ankle and hopped off the court toward the locker room.
Thankfully, Lowry was able to return to the game and the Heat went on to crush the Milwaukee Bucks 137-95. Lowry, however, was ruled out during the Heat’s next tilt against the Indiana Pacers, and his absence did not go unnoticed.
Miami wasn’t able to keep pace without their six-time All-Star and lost 102-91 in overtime.
There’s No ‘Plan B’ When Lowry Is Out
The biggest concern when it comes to Lowry getting injured is the fact that Miami doesn’t have a solid backup. Vincent has already proved that he’s not yet capable of successfully filling in for Lowry.
According to Heat center Bam Adebayo, there’s no scheme in place if Lowry is out for an extended period of time.
“I mean usually you don’t always have Plan B when somebody is out, especially somebody like Kyle, especially somebody with the starting unit,” Adebayo said, per Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman. “Now you have to bring somebody in and pick up that cohesiveness, that tempo with the starting unit.”
Just before the season started, Heat president Pat Riley said he’d be open to adding a 15th player, even if it meant going over the luxury tax threshold. The Athletic‘s David Aldridge has urged the Heat to obtain Houston Rockets star John Wall as a reliable backup for Lowry.