The Miami Heat were without two of their starters in Bam Adebayo (neck) and Goran Dragic (foot) again in Game 3.
They were still able to pull off the win behind an NBA Finals performance for the ages from Jimmy Butler, but with the series back within reach at 2-1, the Heat are hoping to get their key players back in the lineup for the remainder of the series.
Prior to Game 3, Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra had this to say of his two starters, "I can see the anguish, literally, in their eyes ... they really want to be there because they love their teammates and they put their heart and soul into it."
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski added that both Adebayo and Dragic had hoped to return to the floor for Game 3, but "the pain and physical limitations on both injuries has them out again."
With just one day's rest in between Game 3 and Game 4, will either of them be able to return to the lineup?
We'll have you covered with each update leading up to Game 4 below.
Bam Adebayo - Neck strain
Per the Associated Press' Tim Reynolds, Adebayo had been said to be further along than Dragic prior to Game 3, although neither ended up suiting up.
During his post-practice media availability on Monday, the All-Star centre put the decision on the team's medical staff.
"I'm getting better. It's up to the medical staff… I'm trying to get back as quickly as possible. It's really day-to-day. When they say I'm ready to play I'll be out there." - Bam Adebayo (neck strain) on his status- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 5, 2020
The latest: ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Adebayo is "planning to play" in Game 4.
Miami Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo is planning to return for Game 4 vs. the Lakers tonight, sources tell ESPN. Lakers lead series, 2-1.- Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 6, 2020
Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press confirms Adebayo will indeed play in Game 4.
Bam Adebayo WILL play tonight for the Heat.- Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) October 6, 2020
Goran Dragic - Torn plantar fascia
MORE: Medical expert: What is a torn plantar fascia?
As for Dragic, he appears to be further away from returning to the floor. Following Monday's practice, he told the media that he doesn't "have a timetable yet."
"I'm doing everything I can do. It does feel better than when it happened but we'll see. I don't have a timetable yet... the only thing I can do right now is be on top of my treatments. I'm doing that 24/7." - Goran Dragic (foot) on his status- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 5, 2020
He also called it "low percentage" that he will be cleared to suit up for Game 4.
On the team's injury report leading up to Game 4, Dragic has been listed as "doubtful" for the third game in a row.
The latest: The Athletic's Shams Charania has reported that Dragic will warm up ahead of Game 4 to attempt to play.
Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic will warm up before Game 4 of NBA Finals tonight to attempt to play, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. If Dragic can tolerate pain with torn plantar fascia in foot, he will play.- Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 6, 2020
After an inability to get through pregame warm ups, Dragic has been ruled out.
Heat's Goran Dragic will not play in Game 4 of NBA Finals against the Lakers, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Dragic attempted to play on torn plantar fascia, warmed up pregame.- Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 6, 2020
Who will step up for the Miami Heat?
With Adebayo and Dragic missing the last two games, the Heat have called upon a trio of players to step in and fill in the minutes left behind by the two starters.
After playing just a total of 8:51 in the first three rounds for the Heat, Myers Leonard has started in place of Adebayo in Games 2 and 3. Leonard who's been the team's biggest cheerleader in the bubble is averaging 7.0 points shooting 83.3 percent in 11.0 per game in the Finals. Leonard won't be asked to play big minutes, but he's doing enough to keep Miami afloat.
With the size advantage the Lakers have over the Heat, Canadian Kelly Olynyk might have been given a few extra minutes in the Finals. Due to the injury to Adebayo, Olynyk has been thrust into heavy minutes and he's responded averaging 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three through the series first three games.
Kendrick Nunn who was the Heat's primary starting guard throughout the season has teetered with a breakout performance in the Finals playing in place of Dragic. He's averaging 11.7 points shooting 61.9 percent from the field. Nunn had 19 games of 20 or more points this season and is very capable of having an offensive outburst.
Check back for updates leading up to Game 4.
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