Miami Heat point guard Kyle Lowry will miss Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Philadelphia 76ers with the same left hamstring injury that already sidelined him for four playoff games.
Lowry re-aggravated the injury during Sunday’s 116-108 loss to the Sixers that evened the series, 2-2.
The 36-year-old suffered the injury 23 minutes into Game 3 of a first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks and missed Miami’s next four games — all wins, including the first two games against the 76ers. Lowry was scoreless over 23 minutes in his Game 3 return against Philadelphia and played 30 minutes in Game 4, despite requiring treatment in the second quarter and sitting for the final 10 minutes of an eight-point loss.
Lowry’s production had already dipped to his lowest point since he became a full-time NBA starter for the Houston Rockets in 2010. He still averaged an efficient 13.4 points and 7.5 assists in 33.9 minutes per game over 63 appearances during the regular season, but those numbers dipped to 6.2 points and 5.2 assists in 28.8 minutes per game over his first five playoff games for Miami. He shot 30% from the field and 21% from 3-point range in those five games and did not attempt a single free throw in four of them.
The Heat handed Lowry a three-year, $85 million contract in August, hoping he was the key to restoring their status as a championship contender, and they entered the playoffs with the East’s No. 1 seed. They were 2.5 points per 100 possessions better with Lowry on the court during the regular season and +51 in his 89 playoff minutes before the injury. They have been outscored by 11 in his 56 minutes since returning.
Gabe Vincent has previously started in place of Lowry. Two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo, who played eight regular-season games this season in his own return from a series of career-threatening injuries, has also seen his minutes increase in Lowry’s absence. Oladipo’s 23 points helped eliminate the Hawks in Game 5 of their first-round series, and his 19 points contributed to last week’s Game 2 victory against the Sixers.