Hip injury continues to be problem for Bam Adebayo. Heat rules out Bam for Saturday vs. Pacers

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Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo doesn’t like missing games, but his bruised left hip continues to be a problem.

After suffering a painful left hip contusion during the opening week of the season, Adebayo had already missed three games because of the injury before exiting Thursday night’s 142-132 home win over the Indiana Pacers early after re-aggravating the injury. He left Thursday’s victory with 6:56 left in the second quarter and never returned.

Adebayo, 26, will now miss his fourth game because of the injury. The Heat has already ruled out its two-time All-Star center for Saturday’s rematch against the Pacers at Kaseya Center (8 p.m., Bally Sports Sun).

The Heat also ruled out Tyler Herro (sprained right ankle), Dru Smith (season-ending knee injury) and R.J. Hampton (right knee sprain) for Saturday’s contest. Jimmy Butler is listed as probable with a sprained right ankle.

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“He came in those last four minutes of the second quarter and he was just getting some treatment at halftime with the intention to come back,” Spoelstra said following Thursday’s win when asked why Adebayo never returned to play in the game. “I basically talked to him in my office and just said, ‘Look, you’re laboring like the fourth quarter of the New York game and it’s November right now. I’m not putting you back in in the second half. I’m taking this decision out of your hands.’ I didn’t even talk to the trainers at that point.”

The first game that Adebayo missed because of the hip contusion came in a road loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Oct. 30.

Following that one-game absence, Adebayo returned to play in the next 10 games before re-aggravating the injury during a road win over the Chicago Bulls on Nov. 20. He was then forced to sit out the Heat’s Nov. 22 win over the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

Adebayo again only missed one game before returning to play in the Heat’s road loss to the New York Knicks on Nov. 24, but he was limited to just four points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field in the fourth quarter of that defeat despite playing the entire period.

Adebayo was then held out of Saturday’s road loss to the Brooklyn Nets the next day on the second night of the back-to-back.

And again, Adebayo only missed one game before returning to score a season-high 31 points in Tuesday’s home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks before the lingering hip issue forced him to leave Thursday’s win over the Pacers early.

Losing Adebayo for any amount of time is a big blow to the Heat. In addition to being at the center of everything the Heat does on defense, Adebayo entered Thursday’s victory over the Pacers averaging a team-high 23.3 points to go with 10.3 rebounds, four assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game in his seventh NBA season.

With Adebayo out, the Heat will rely on the trio of Thomas Bryant, Kevin Love and Orlando Robinson to fill the void at center. Bryant, Love and Robinson all played in Thursday’s win after Adebayo left the game.

The good news for Adebayo is the schedule will give him some time to recover without missing many games. The Heat only plays three games over the next nine days, with games on Saturday at home against the Pacers, on Wednesday against the Raptors in Toronto and on Dec. 9 against the Cavaliers in Miami before beginning a back-to-back set against the Charlotte Hornets on Dec. 11.

“It’s not, thankfully, something serious,” Spoelstra said Thursday, downplaying the severity of Adebayo’s injury. “It’s just you play competitive NBA basketball, you get hit, you’re jumping and you’re twisting, all that stuff. He heals fast, so we’ll continue to treat him and see where we are.”

RESPECT FROM HALIBURTON

After establishing a new career-high with 44 points in Thursday’s loss to the Heat, Pacers star guard Tyrese Haliburton has now scored 40 or more points in three games during his NBA career. Two of those performances came against the Heat in Miami.

And that’s not a coincidence.

“I grew up a Heat fan, I grew up a LeBron [James] fan,” Haliburton said. “You know what I mean? I had a poster in my room of LeBron’s jersey, Dwyane Wade’s jersey and my jersey. So I would say that when we play in Cleveland or we play in Miami, those are places that I always wanted to go when I was a kid. So there’s just some special juice when I play in those arenas.”

Haliburton then referenced his connection with Spoelstra, who was an assistant coach for a Team USA roster that included Haliburton at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in the Philippines this past summer.

“How do you not get up for Miami?” Haliburton continued. “That’s probably the best coached team in the NBA. I have a good relationship with Spo from USA Basketball and stuff like that. I think the best players just get up for the best opponents and perennially you always see Miami at the top.”

Haliburton is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game in Miami because of a right knee bruise.