It's just Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but the Miami Heat are running out of players. Midway through the third quarter, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic were all dealing with apparent injuries. Dragic's appears to be the most serious. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, he suffered a plantar tear of his left foot.
He can put pressure on his foot for now and has not yet been ruled out for the remainder of the series, according to Wojnarowski. "I don't know right now. I know he's as tough as anybody and it's the Finals, but I don't have an update where he is on his foot right now," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Dragic. The veteran guard will be re-evaluated after leaving the arena without wearing a walking boot and didn't appear to favor his foot, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo.
Fortunately, Butler seems to be OK. His injury came in the second quarter, as he tried to score on Lakers big man Anthony Davis. He appeared to land awkwardly on the play, with his ankle twisting. The Lakers quickly made their way down the court before Miami could call a timeout, but Butler stayed in the game afterward to finish the half and started the second half, despite being slightly hobbled.
Butler described himself to reports as a "little bit sore. I'll be OK. Some treatment, and get ready to go again. I think I gotta be ready to go, so we'll see how it feels tomorrow, but I'm gonna be fine."
Things only got worse from there. In the third quarter, Adebayo left the game with a shoulder strain, according to a broadcast update. Afterward, Spoelstra offered little on Adebayo's condition. "We'll re-evaluate him tomorrow and see where we are," he said.
The Heat are among the deepest teams in the NBA. Their run to the NBA Finals was made possible by role players like Herro, Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala as much as their best players. But no team in NBA history, no matter how deep, can survive the losses of perhaps its three best players. If Butler is hobbled and Dragic and Adebayo have to miss time, this series will be over.
The Lakers dominated Game 1 with a 116-98 victory. That puts them three wins away from a championship. If the Heat aren't healthy by Game 2, this will be a very short series.