The Miami Heat picked up a Game 3 win on Sunday thanks to the efforts of Jimmy Butler, whose 40-point triple-double propelled the Heat to their first win in the series over the Lakers, despite the absences of Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo, who both left Game 1 with injuries and have yet to play since.
That win not only gave Miami a confidence boost that they can compete in this series and get wins even while shorthanded, but it bought further time for the possibility of a return from one or both of their stars. On Monday, we received updates from both players, with Dragic seemingly resigned to the likelihood that he isn’t going to play anytime soon as he is still dealing with a tremendous amount of pain after tearing his plantar fascia in his left foot.
Adebayo, however, seems closer to a return, something evidenced by the Heat upgrading him from doubtful to questionable for Game 4 on Monday night’s injury report. Adebayo told reporters that his neck strain is improving, but it’s a matter of getting clearance from the medical staff.
“I’m getting better. It’s up to the medical staff… I’m trying to get back as quickly as possible. It’s really day-to-day. When they say I’m ready to play I’ll be out there.” – Bam Adebayo (neck strain) on his status
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 5, 2020
It’s hard to overstate how important Adebayo’s presence is to the Heat on both ends of the floor, as they entered the Finals with a net rating 11 points better when he was on the floor compared to off, by far the biggest difference of anyone on the team. While they were able to neutralize Anthony Davis in Game 3, thanks in part to frustrating him into early foul trouble, the Heat lack rim protection without Adebayo and adding him to their rotation tweaks and schematic adjustments that paid dividends in Game 3 would make this series suddenly very intriguing.
Adebayo will likely remain something of a gametime decision up through Tuesday night’s pregame warmups, as the team will continue monitoring his progress, pain tolerance, and movement ability to determine whether he can be cleared to play in Game 4.