The Heat suffered a blowout loss to the Lakers on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, falling behind in the third quarter by 32 points before ultimately losing by 18. To make matters worse, a number of the team’s most important players were dealing with injuries by the time the final horn sounded.
Goran Dragic suffered the most significant of those injuries, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that the Heat’s starting point guard has been diagnosed with a plantar fascia tear and will be re-evaluated before Game 2.
Wojnarowski notes (via Twitter) that Dragic has been able to put pressure on his injured left foot and hasn’t ruled out a return this series. The veteran left the arena without using a walking boot and wasn’t favoring his left foot much, adds Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
Still, the injury is a painful one that typically sidelines players for multiple weeks, as Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes explains. There’s precedence for a player sustaining a torn plantar fascia in the playoffs and attempting to play through it, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), who points to Nets forward Joe Johnson in 2013. However, Marks cautions that, despite receiving injections for the pain, Johnson’s effectiveness was compromised for the rest of that series.
Told after Game 1 on Wednesday about the severity of Dragic’s injury, Jimmy Butler said the club has to be ready to play with or without its starting point guard in Game 2, per Malika Andrews of ESPN.
“He’s a big part of what we’re trying to do, but until we can have him back, we got to go out there and we got to fight even harder,” Butler said. “We got to try to cover up what he gives us and make up for it. We’re capable of it. We have to be capable of it. Moving forward, with or without Goran, we better hurry up and tie it up 1-1.”
In addition to Dragic, the Heat’s two All-Stars – Butler and Bam Adebayo – will also have to deal with health issues going forward. Butler was able to remain in Game 1 after rolling his left ankle, while Adebayo suffered a left shoulder strain that knocked him out of the game.
Having finished out Game 1, Butler is expected to be available going forward. As for Adebayo, the Heat said X-rays on his shoulder were negative, and he intends to play on Friday, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, who cautions (via Twitter) that there will be “a lot of treatment” in the big man’s future on Thursday.
If Dragic is unavailable and Adebayo is limited, the Heat figure to reinsert All-Rookie First Team guard Kendrick Nunn and veteran big man Kelly Olynyk into their rotation. However, those injuries will make the Heat an even longer shot to pull off the upset and defeat the Lakers for this year’s title.