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Bam Adebayo to undergo surgery to repair torn UCL in right thumb

Heat PF/C will likely be out an extended period of time.

Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets during the second half at FTX Arena on November 29, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Miami Heat PF/C Bam Adebayo will undergo surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right thumb, the team announced Wednesday afternoon. Adebayo is expected to miss 6 weeks. This is tough news for the Heat, who are in third place in the Eastern Conference at 13-8 entering Wednesday’s game vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Heat are also dealing with an injury to Jimmy Butler (tailbone).

Adebayo was averaging 18.7 points and 10.2 rebounds through 18 games this season before the injury. With the timeline set at six weeks, that would mean Adebayo will likely return to the lineup some time in January at the earliest. Bam could be out longer than that depending on his recovery and how the team handles his return.

With Bam out, the Heat will have to rely on Dewayne Dedmon at center for the next month and a half. He’s the only experienced center left on the roster. Behind Dedmon, we could see the Heat simply play small ball with PJ Tucker at center, something the Houston Rockets used to do back with James Harden and Mike D’Antoni. Omer Yurtseven may also be in line for some time at center if you remember him from back in Summer League.

Tucker is only 3.5 percent owned in ESPN leagues and makes for an interesting pickup off the fantasy basketball waiver wire. We know Tucker can defend bigs and he’s going to have to play a ton of minutes most likely. If that’s the case, rebounds will be the big category Tucker can contribute in.

Adebayo is 20/1 to win Defensive Player of the Year, though those odds likely drop with this news. Bam could end up missing too many games by the time he returns. This shouldn’t shy you off of Miami futures lines at this point. Adebayo should return and unless he’s hampered by the injury, the Heat will remain contenders. There’s always a risk of re-injury, but we’ll hope that isn’t the case with Adebayo’s thumb surgery.

The lines this will affect are the Heat’s win total, seeding and odds to make the postseason. I can’t imagine Bam being out for six weeks pushes Miami out of the playoff picture, though the East is very tight right now. The win total may be impacted and the Heat could fall into the lower half of the playoff seeding picture.