UPDATE: After speculation that Adebayo would try to play in Game 4 after missing 2.5 games with a neck strain, the Heat confirmed he would play and start on Tuesday night.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 7, 2020
Original Story: The Miami Heat will be getting closer to full strength in Game 4 of the NBA Finals after an improbable Game 3 win that saw Jimmy Butler explode for a 40-point triple-double to make the Lakers advantage in the series just 2-1. That the Heat picked up a win in one of the two games they didn’t have Bam Adebayo or Goran Dragic was critical for their chances, and while it seems unlikely they’ll get their starting point guard back soon, it appears their All-Star center will be returning to the lineup on Tuesday night.
Miami Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo is planning to return for Game 4 vs. the Lakers tonight, sources tell ESPN. Lakers lead series, 2-1.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 6, 2020
Adebayo has been a critical part of the Heat’s run to the Finals, owning the biggest on/off court net rating difference of anyone on the Miami roster. He exited Game 1 with an apparent shoulder injury, with an MRI revealing a neck strain that has kept him off the court for the past two games, but he was upgraded to questionable on Monday and it appears he’s been able to continue improving to the point that he’ll be cleared to play.
One would assume he will be making his return to the starting five, which likely means the Meyers Leonard minutes in Game 4 will be limited to erased completely, as Kelly Olynyk emerged as a weapon for Miami in Game 3 and figures to get ample time again to spell Adebayo. In any case, Adebayo’s presence is a welcome addition to this series as Miami looks to even things up and make this Finals suddenly far more interesting than most anticipated we’d get going into Sunday.