Bam Adebayo is perhaps the single most important player for the Miami Heat in their upset bid against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. While he isn't quite as prolific a scorer as All-Star teammate Jimmy Butler, his defense is essential against Anthony Davis, and his playmaking has helped carry the Heat's offense this postseason.
Miami suffered a massive blow to their hopes when Adebayo was ruled out for Game 2 on Friday night due to a shoulder injury, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The team hopes he will be able to return for Game 3 on Sunday, but his status for that game is to be determined.
To make matters even worse, starting point guard Goran Dragic is also out with a torn plantar fascia, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. The recovery time for that injury is usually measured in weeks, but the Heat obviously don't have weeks to spare. After losing Game 1 of the NBA Finals, they are three losses away from the end of their season. Dragic, at 19.9 points per game, was Miami's second-leading scorer this postseason.
Adebayo injured his shoulder in Game 1, and was limited to just eight points and four rebounds in 21 minutes, in what was an ugly loss for the Heat. Initially, he was planning to play in Game 2, but it always seemed like that was a best-case scenario. It's clear now that won't be possible. This is not the first arm injury Adebayo has suffered in the postseason. He hurt his left wrist against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, but did not miss any time. Unfortunately for him and the Heat, his shoulder injury is proving to be more serious.
Without a healthy Adebayo, the Heat hardly have a chance against Davis and LeBron James. He's just too important to what they do on both sides of the ball, and they don't have anyone who can replicate unique skill set. So far in the playoffs, the Heat have a plus-7 net rating with Adebayo on the court, and a minus-4.3 net rating when he sits.
The Heat were already underdogs when this series began. With Adebayo and Dragic sidelined, their fortunes are even bleaker. The Heat are a remarkably deep team, and that depth will be tested as this series progresses.