The Miami Heat’s frontcourt took another hit heading into its showdown Tuesday night with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said rookie center Bam Adebayo would sit out the game after he sprained his right ankle in Sunday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers.
The Heat will already be without starting center Hassan Whiteside, who is expected to miss his ninth consecutive game with a hip flexor strain.
“It was in the third quarter at Indiana after I blocked one of Victor [Oladipo]’s shots and landed on his foot, and it just went downhill from there,” Adebayo said. “I’m just getting treatment and hopefully I’ll be back by next game.”
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Without Adebayo and Whiteside, the Heat started Jordan Mickey at center along with Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, James Johnson and Tyler Johnson and went to a smaller lineup off the bench.
“We just found out,” Spoelstra said. “[Adebayo] was going to try to give it a go at shootaround, but he’s not moving well enough so playing tonight is not an option.”
Adebayo played 20 minutes and 55 seconds against Indiana and finished with 14 points and five rebounds. The block on which Adebayo injured his ankle came with 9:06 remaining in the third quarter. He remained in the game for nearly five minutes before subbing out. He returned briefly in the closing seconds of the Heat’s 113-107 loss.
Adebayo acknowledged he was in a lot of pain down the stretch of that game.
“I was, but my team needed me and couldn’t disappoint my team,” Adebayo said.
Adebayo has played in 64 of the Heat’s 74 games so far this season and averaged 7.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 51.4 percent from the field.