BOSTON — Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent will not play in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics on Thursday night because of a sprained left ankle.
“It’s really unfortunate,” Vincent said after Thursday’s shootaround. “I’m a competitor. I love to compete with my guys, it’s definitely the highest stakes, so I’ll be here supporting them, watching them do their thing tonight.”
Vincent, who is averaging 17.5 points during the Eastern Conference finals, originally injured the ankle during the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s Game 4 loss after going up for a jumper and landing awkwardly. He is shooting 58% in the series — and 50% from 3-point range vs. the Celtics.
Coach Erik Spoelstra did not yet want to reveal Vincent’s replacement in the starting lineup for Game 5, but he referenced that veteran guard Kyle Lowry would play extra minutes if needed.
“We’ll adjust,” Spoelstra said. “We’ve had a bunch of other guys step up, and that’s what we need tonight. It’s great having a Hall of Fame quarterback to step in.”
Spoelstra said Vincent went through a workout Thursday, but the ankle is not ready for game action yet.
“He is feeling better,” Spoelstra said. “Just not quite good enough to play an Eastern Conference finals game. But that’s why the guys respect him so much; he was doing everything possible to try to get out there.”
Vincent is hopeful he’ll be able to return if Game 6 is needed on Saturday in Miami. The Heat have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
He started each of Miami’s first 15 playoff games and is averaging 13.1 points in the postseason — third-best on the Heat behind Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
Spoelstra and teammates are confident if Lowry’s role increases in Game 5.
“There’s a confidence level,” Spoelstra said of having Lowry. “He’s brought that to the second unit. That has really helped stabilize that group. It was what we really needed and it’s something that happened — a real bonus that happened — unfortunately because he was out for five weeks [with left knee soreness] and we had to take this step to get him back into it.
“But he has that way. He’s done that everywhere he’s been — been at his best in the biggest moments — but he helps bring a lot of confidence and just stability to whatever unit he’s playing in.”
The Heat are already playing without guards Tyler Herro (hand) and Victor Oladipo (left knee).
Herro, who broke his hand in Game 1 of the playoff series vs. Milwaukee, has resumed workouts after having his brace removed.
“There’s no timetable,” Spoelstra said Tuesday of Herro. “He does have the brace off, and he’s able to do ballhandling and some shooting.”
Oladipo will miss the rest of the season with a torn patellar tendon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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