Three of Miami's most important players suffered injuries tonight. Jimmy Butler had a sprained ankle, something every hooper knows a thing or two about. Bam Adebayo has a strained shoulder, which could mean many things - we'll get back into that later. But the injury that left most people scratching their head was the plantar tear in Dragić's left foot. Here's what you need to know.
Torn plantar fascia
We usually hear about plantar fasciitis, which stands for an inflammation of the plantar fascia. (That's why all the images we could find were those of the inflammation.) The plantar fascia is a thick, weblike ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. It acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of your foot. That's quite useful while running around screens and crossing people over.
The concerning part about Dragić's injury is the fact a plantar tear is quite rare. Rule of thumb is: the rarer the injury; it's probably more severe. Things that are hard to break/tear etc. usually take more time to heal. There have been several plantar tears in recent NBA history, and the expected outcomes vary.
The key here is the level of tear. If Dragić suffered a full tear, he is out of the series. If we are talking about a partial tear, then the injury can be managed with injections, but it will still hurt like hell and limit his mobility on the court. To remind you, Dragić is a free agent this summer. Playing on a partial tear presents a major risk for a 34-year-old point guard looking for his last major contract.
Bam's injury is connected to the greatest play in his life. Everyone wondered how his wrist didn't break after this move, but it seems his shoulder suffered the brunt of it. In Game 4 against the Celtics, Adebayo and Tatum were fighting for possession, and Tatum pulled Bam's left arm - he's been experiencing pain in the shoulder ever since. Contact with Dwight Howard last night seemed to have aggravated it, but he left the court after going for a rebound where there was minimal contact.
Second rule of thumb: no contact injuries are usually worse than contact injuries. If Bam aggravated his shoulder by simply putting his arms out to grab a ball, that means there are significant problems there. A strain usually implicates injury to a muscle, while a sprain is usually connected to a ligament.
We can't be sure what's exactly wrong with Bam, but the fact this probably started with the Tatum block, really got bad in Game 4 vs. the Celtics and now took him off the court on a simple rebound without significant contact is bad news. I don't doubt Bam will show up on the court in Game 2, but it's hard to slow Anthony Davis down when you're 100%, let alone with a bad shoulder.