Heat All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler, who turned his left ankle at the end of the first half on Wednesday night, wore a scarf over his left ankle on Thursday. He said he would be ready for the second game of the best-of-7 series on Friday (9 p.m. ET, ABC).
“At this point it’s all on deck,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Thursday. “And it’s not like the guys who were potentially slipping into the rotation haven’t played before; these guys trust us and have played great roles for us all year. Our depth has been one of our greatest strengths. It’s not just the coach- talking, we’ve been using our depth all year.
“The other benefit of all of that is that we’ve been in that bubble with an extra training camp, and everyone’s done a great job whether or not they got big minutes in those playoffs. we have to see tomorrow who is available and make the adjustments accordingly. ”
Adebayo, who averaged 17.8 points and 10.9 rebounds in the playoffs, gripped the shoulder as he came out with just over 6 minutes left in the third quarter. He was briefly examined on the sideline before returning to the locker room for x-rays, which were negative, the Heat said.
He played 21 minutes in the first game loss, scoring just 8 points and registering 4 rebounds.
Spoelstra said on Thursday it was a “different injury” from the one Adebayo initially suffered in the Eastern Conference final. Adebayo faced a left shoulder / wrist issue after tangling with Boston Celtics guard Jayson Tatum in Game 4 of this series.
Dragic had just 6 points and 3 assists in 15 minutes of action Wednesday, well below his 19.9 points per game playoff average.
He appeared to suffer from the injury during the second quarter as he drove against Rajon Rondo, but he did not leave the game immediately. According to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Dragic left the locker room after half-time and was almost at the entrance to the pitch before a member of the team’s staff stopped him. The 34-year-old guard then returned to the locker room and did not return.
Its status for the rest of the series remains unclear.
“I know he’s as tough as anyone, and this is the final,” Spoelstra said of Dragic after the first game.
Butler, who finished with 23 points and 5 assists in the opener, said he expects better performance from his injured group going forward. He started in the second quarter after twisting his ankle when he landed awkwardly trying to score on Anthony Davis. Butler appeared to be slightly hampered afterwards as he tried to lead the Heat’s return attempt.
ESPN’s Malika Andrews and Nick Friedell contributed to this report.