Wizards starting center Daniel Gafford will miss Thursday night's game at the Miami Heat with a sprained right thumb, the team announced about an hour before tip-off. Gafford was listed as questionable with the injury, which was first disclosed Thursday afternoon.
Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. expressed optimism in his pregame press conference that Gafford would be able to play. The team's medical staff, though, was due to evaluate him during pregame warmups.
Gafford, 23, will miss his third game of the season so far. The Wizards won each of the previous games he missed when he sat out due to a right quad contusion.
It's unclear how Gafford sustained this particular injury. He scored a season-high 20 points against the Hornets on Wednesday night, but did so while wearing tape on his right thumb.
With Gafford out, the Wizards will have to rely heavily on Montrezl Harrell at center. Their third center, Thomas Bryant, remains out as he recovers from surgery to repair a partially torn ACL which he underwent in February.
The Wizards are also playing without starting point guard Spencer Dinwiddie. He had a similar surgery to Bryant in January and has been limited in back-to-backs as part of his recovery.
Though the Wizards have won two games without Gafford this season, they are 25-10 when he is in the lineup dating back to last season when he was acquired in a March trade. Against the Heat, they will have to overcome his loss while facing talented young big man Bam Adebayo.