Adebayo underwent surgery on Dec. 6 to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. When the Heat announced the procedure a day later, they said Adebayo was expected to miss about four to six weeks. Monday will represent the six-week mark since the 24-year-old went under the knife.
Adebayo was having another strong season for Miami before sustaining his thumb injury, matching career highs with 18.7 PPG and 10.2 RPG through 18 games (32.9 MPG). However, the Heat have held up well without Adebayo in the lineup, despite losing more players for days or weeks at a time due to injuries or COVID-19.
Omer Yurtseven has emerged as a legitimate contributor in Adebayo’s absence, starting Miami’s last eight games at center. Before Adebayo went down, Yurtseven hadn’t played more than eight minutes in an NBA game. As a starter, he has put up 12.1 PPG, 14.6 RPG and 3.0 APG. He has also grabbed double-digit rebounds in 12 consecutive games.
It’s probably safe to assume Yurtseven will return to the bench once Adebayo is ready to go, but his emergence – along with Dewayne Dedmon's solid play in his 11 games as the starting center – is great news for the Heat, which can be more confident in their frontcourt depth going forward.