Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, according to the team.
It’s the first major injury of Adebayo’s five pro seasons. He’s averaging a career-best 18.7 points for Miami this season, along with 10.2 rebounds per game.
Adebayo, an Olympic gold medalist this summer, was injured in a loss to Denver on Nov. 29. He underwent tests to determine the full scope of the injury, and it was determined that he tore the ulnar collateral ligament.
He shrugged off the injury after the game, insisting it was nothing.
“I’m all right,” he said.
Turns out, he was anything but.
The current timeframe would have Adebayo missing somewhere between 20 and 25 games.
It is a huge blow for Miami, which already is dealing with a depleted frontcourt because of Markieff Morris’ neck injury. Morris has been out since he was injured in a dustup with Nikola Jokic in Denver last month, and there remains no timetable for his return.
Dewayne Dedmon is the only other big man on the Miami roster who has logged considerable minutes at center this season. The Heat have others who can play the spot, including 41-year-old Udonis Haslem and power forward P.J. Tucker, who is only 6-foot-5.
Adebayo was one of three players who started all six games for the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics, where the Americans won gold. He led the team in rebounds, averaging 5.7 per game, plus averaged 6.3 points on 57% shooting at the Games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.