LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Bam Adebayo might be on his way back to the NBA Finals.
Adebayo, Miami’s All-Star center who missed Games 2 and 3 of the title series against the Los Angeles Lakers with a neck strain, is now listed as questionable for Game 4 on Tuesday night. The Heat made that determination Monday, while continuing to list fellow starter Goran Dragic as doubtful with a torn left plantar fascia.
“I’m trying to get back as quickly as possible,” Adebayo said Monday before the Heat upgraded his status. “They’re just trying to make sure I’m safe and I’m ready to play. It’s really day-to-day. When they say I’m ready to play, I’ll be out there.”
Adebayo has also been dealing with a shoulder injury that flared during the Eastern Conference finals against Boston. The neck strain is more concerning to the Heat.
“I don’t miss games. That’s not me,” Adebayo said. “That’s not how I’m built. I want to play. I’ve always been like that. I’ve always got the thrill of just putting on that uniform and going out there and playing. To be in the finals and the medical staff is telling me I can’t play … it sucks. But I understand.”
Meyers Leonard has started at center in each of the last two games, and Kelly Olynyk — another 7-footer — has scored 41 points off the bench in those two contests.
Dragic left in the second quarter of Game 1. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to return in this series, and the anguish in his voice was easy to detect Monday — amid clear inference that his first NBA Finals might have been over by halftime of his first game on this stage.
“I mean, it’s not the easiest thing right now for me to sit down on the sideline and watch my team, how they are battling, how they are playing well, and of course I want to be out there,” Dragic said. “Most of the time I ask myself, I ask the guy above why it has to happen right now. It’s tough. It’s tough. You know, try to look at it this way: everything is with a purpose, so we’ll see.”