- Bam Adebayo is out indefinitely due to surgery on his UCL in his thumb
- Early reporting suggests the Heat center will be absent for around a month
- Miami’s NBA Championship odds have slipped to +1500 following the news
Bam Adebayo is set to undergo surgery after suffering a torn UCL in his right thumb. The Miami Heat’s NBA Championship odds have faded to +1500 as a result of the news, though early reporting suggests the All-Star big man will only miss four-to-six weeks with the injury.
While the Heat have started the season well, owning a 13-8 record, losing Adebayo is a real blow to their regular season chances. Their frontcourt depth is limited behind the former Kentucky man, with Markieff Morris still out and Dewayne Dedmon averaging just 14 minutes per game in 2021-22.
2021-22 NBA Championship Odds
|Golden State Warriors||+600|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+850|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+1900|
Odds as of Dec 1st at DraftKingsAdvertising Disclosure
Baseball fans associate a torn UCL with Tommy John surgery. Bam Adebayo is undergoing something much less severe. A torn UCL in the thumb generally means four-to-six weeks unavailable, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Ira Winderman tweeted that the Heat are expecting Adebayo to be back in about six weeks, which would see him return in mid-January.
Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes delivered slightly less positive news, noting that the average recovery time for a surgery of this nature is seven weeks. Chris Paul and Marcus Smart are two recent examples of players returning to competitive action a bit quicker than that, however.
Re: Bam Adebayo: The average time lost for in-season surgery to repair a torn UCL of the thumb is 26 games (~7 weeks). Chris Paul and Marcus Smart returned to the quickest, missing 39 days (14 games) and 44 days (15 games), respectively.
— Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) December 1, 2021
Stotts also makes a point of improvements in UCL thumb surgery in recent years. Perhaps this could help Adebayo can back on the hardwood in a quicker time than initially projected.
How This Impacts Miami
Prior to the season, there was skepticism about the depth of this Heat roster. Miami became a dark horse for the title the minute they landed Kyle Lowry, but building a contender often means sacrificing pieces further down the roster.
The Heat have already been hit by injuries, and it’s unclear when Markieff Morris will return from the neck injury caused by his clash with Nikola Jokic. Dewayne Dedmon is the obvious option to replace Adebayo at the five in the medium-term, but Erik Spoelstra could also experiment with P.J. Tucker as a smallball five, a role he played frequently in Houston.
No Bam for the foreseeable future. Figure lots of Dewayne Dedmon and this guy, Omer Yurtseven getting more looks. He’s on court early with the young crew getting some work in before Heat-Cavs. Live reports with the latest on Adebayo’s injury on @WPLGLocal10 at 4, 5, 6pm. pic.twitter.com/13VEoVogzi
— Will Manso (@WillMansoWPLG) December 1, 2021
While they aren’t loaded with options to replace the All-Star center, Miami fans can take some positivity from the team’s numbers in non-Adebayo minutes. Their offense is over 12 points better per 100 possessions without Adebayo on the court, and the defense is only a couple of points worse.
If the six weeks estimate is accurate, Adebayo should return around the Wednesday, January, 12th game with the Hawks.
So uh, Dedmon, more PJ at 5, some Yurt against bad teams at least.
I’d be surprised if the Heat made an actual *move*
— Nekias (Nuh-KY-us) Duncan (@NekiasNBA) December 1, 2021
Miami have been fortunate with the timing of this injury. Adebayo will not only be back long before the playoffs, but he’s missing a relatively soft part of the schedule with lots of winnable games, including eight games against the Pacers, Pistons, Magic and Cavaliers. The spell is wrapped up with a west coast road trip featuring the Spurs, Rockets and Kings.
Wait It Out
The Heat should be able to tread water without Adebayo, providing that Lowry, Tyler Herro, Tucker and Jimmy Butler stay healthy. A lot will be asked of Dedmon, and they have some difficult opponents over this six-week period, but there are plenty of games they should still comfortably take.
Bam scored 20 points in the second half against Denver, including 3-of-3 from mid-range, with a torn thumb ligament. https://t.co/ytST51r1Dr
— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) December 1, 2021
This has always looked like a team built for the playoffs. Adebayo’s injury doesn’t impact their credentials as a postseason team, even if it leads to more regular season losses than many would have expected.
It’s worth waiting on the Heat’s title odds for now. A few slip ups with Adebayo sidelined and their price could drift further, particularly if other contenders continue to impress.