The Miami Heat got a bit of bad news on Wednesday after finding out that All-Star center Bam Adebayo will undergo surgery to repair ligament damage in his thumb after he suffered an injury against the Denver Nuggets earlier in the week.

Bam Adebayp Thumb Injury Miami Heat Surgery Out
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo plays through a thumb injury against the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami. (Image: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

An MRI revealed that Adebayo tore the ulnar collateral ligament on his right thumb and surgery is the only way to repair the injury. Similar surgeries typically require four to six weeks to heal. Adebayo would love to return by the start of the new year, but could be sidelined through mid-January.

The Heat’s local broadcast feed caught him wincing in pain several times and holding his hand for most of the game against the Nuggets. Despite the thumb injury, Adebayo led the Heat in scoring and rebounding with 24 points on 11-for-19 shooting, plus 13 boards.

The Heat lose an important starter with Adebayo on the bench. He’s the team’s top rebounder and third-best scorer. He averaged 18.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game this season. Veteran center Dewayne Dedmon is the next man up for the Heat. The journeyman backup center averages 5.3 points and 4.9 rebounds in 14 minutes per game off the bench this season.

The Heat (13-8) currently sit in first place in the Southeast Division and occupy the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference, trailing only the Brooklyn Nets (15-6) and Chicago Bulls (13-8). The Heat were 11-5 before they hit a rough patch with a 2-3 clip in the past two weeks.

The Heat are +1500 odds to win the 2022 NBA Championship, according to the most recent update by DraftKings.

The Heat play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday evening in Miami. The line opened with the Heat as -7 favorites, but after word got out about Adebayo’s injury, oddsmakers adjusted the line to -3.5. It’s currently at -3.