Illness keeps Heat’s Bam Adebayo out vs. Timberwolves

MIAMI — The Miami Heat briefly returned to normal Friday night as they used their preferred starting lineup for the 12th time this season.

By the second half of the loss to the Indiana Pacers, the worry was back. On Monday, there was another twist, this time when center Bam Adebayo announced his absence due to a non-COVID illness.

Already with a small roster, that means not only no team starting center, but no primary backup at that position, Dwayne Dedmon previously announced he would miss Monday night’s game against the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves because of his Plantar fasciitis persists in the left foot.

It’s the second time in two weeks that the Heat have found their top two centers absent, as was a Dec. 15 road win over the Houston Rockets when Adebayo sat out with a sprained left ankle and Dedmon also missed the game. .

Besides Adebayo and Dedmon, the Heat’s remaining options at center are 19-year-old rookie Nikola Jovic, two-way contract big man Orlando Robinson and 42-year-old captain Udonis Haslem. . Both Jovic and Robinson have recently played in the Development League.

The Heat entered Monday with a 1-2 record in Adebayo’s absence for the season, losing two games in mid-November when he sat out with a left knee injury.

Adebayo was previously listed as questionable for Monday night’s game with a sprained right shoulder.

Adebayo’s absence comes after forward Jimmy Butler sat out Friday night’s loss to the Pacers with a sprained ankle, an ailment that had him listed as a questionable player on Monday.

The Heat complete four home games against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday before heading west for five games against the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Lakers and Phoenix Suns.

The Heat entered Monday 16-17, ninth in the Eastern Conference.