NBA

Butler and Adebayo among seven Heat players sidelined due to COVID protocols

By Sports Desk January 11, 2021

Miami Heat stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo have been ruled out of Tuesday's scheduled showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers due to the NBA's health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Butler and Adebayo were added to Miami's COVID-19 protocol list on Monday, joining team-mates Goran Dragic, Kendrick Nunn, Maurice Harkless, Udonis Haslem and KZ Okpala.

Heat guard Avery Bradley had been placed on the health and safety protocols list before Sunday's matchup against the Boston Celtics was postponed.

The coronavirus situation also saw the postponement of Monday's game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks, as well as the Celtics-Chicago Bulls encounter on Tuesday.

Miami are ninth in the Eastern Conference with a 4-4 record after reaching last season's NBA Finals, eventually beaten by the Los Angeles Lakers.

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    Losing center Horford and point guard Smart just hours before the series opener is a major blow to head coach Ime Udoka.

    It remains to be seen how long the pair must stay sidelined. Both played significant roles in Boston edging out the Milwaukee Bucks in a semi-final series that went to a Game 7 decider on Sunday.

    Speaking before the twin absences were announced, Udoka said the Celtics would look to make a strong start against Miami, despite lacking time for a breather between series.

    Udoka said: "We didn’t get a ton of rest, as opposed to Miami, who had a few days off. But we're riding some momentum and staying sharp and there's benefits to that as well. Miami got [four] days off, but as far as what we did against Milwaukee, some carryover could be good."

    Boston are not alone in being without key personnel. It had previously been announced Miami guard Kyle Lowry will miss Game 1 with a hamstring injury.

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