LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic were both ruled out of Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Friday with injury, leaving the Miami Heat down two starters for their matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Adebayo is dealing with issues with his left shoulder and the left side of his neck. Dragic tore his left plantar fascia in Game 1.
Both were evaluated and treated multiple times Thursday and Friday, without enough improvement to give either of them a chance to get on the floor for Game 2. The Lakers won Game 1 easily, 116-98.
“I've had to play the role of not just head coach but almost a parent the last 24 hours," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “These two guys are really amazing. Like everyone in our locker room, there's a real special sense of brotherhood and responsibility and they're both lobbying to play. Ultimately, I had to take the decision out of their hands for tonight."
It's the first time Adebayo has missed a game because of injury this season. He played in 158 consecutive regular-season games before sitting out Miami's meaningless regular-season finale in the bubble back in August.
Rookie Tyler Herro — who started only eight games in the regular season — was tabbed to make his first playoff start in Dragic’s vacant backcourt spot, and Meyers Leonard was picked to start at the center spot for Adebayo. Spoelstra indicated that many players would get a swing at Adebayo's minutes.
“We'll have to do this by committee," Spoelstra said.
Leonard started each of Miami's first 49 games before getting hurt in February, badly spraining an ankle. He has played sparingly since, playing about 56 minutes in three appearances off the bench — only one of those coming in the postseason.
There has been no final determination for the availability of Adebayo and Dragic for Game 3 of the series on Sunday night.
“They are our warriors and are continuing to try to lobby," Spoelstra said. “But they just need rest and recovery."
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