The Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem suffered a foot injury in last night’s game against Memphis and had to be carried off the court. It has become apparent that the damage is worse than just an ankle sprain, as was initially reported.
The Sun Sentinel reports Haslem has suffered ligament damage in his left foot after undergoing an MRI this afternoon. He will see a specialist tomorrow, and at this point it’s unknown how long he could be out.
This is a bigger blow than the Mike Miller injury. Haslem, although only 6'7", is by far the Heat’s best rebounder and the lone physical presence around the rim.
The Heat’s lack of interior toughness has been exposed all season, and with Haslem out for what could be a lengthy period of time, that void will grow.
He is averaging eight points and 8.2 rebounds in 26.5 minutes this season.
The Heat have a few options. Juwan Howard could receive more playing time. Erik Spoelstra could also increase Jamaal Magloire’s minutes and hope he can provide 15-20 minutes of brute toughness inside. The coach could also turn to rookie center Dexter Pittman, who has yet to play this season.
Independent of those scenarios, signing a big man is critical. Erick Dampier is still a free agent, as is Jake Voskuhl. Both would be an upgrade over Zydrunas Ilgauskas or Joel Anthony on the defensive end.
The Heat could also use LeBron James at power forward. But the man can’t play every position on the court. Regardless of what many may think, he is indeed one person.
It’s going to be tough to fill Haslem’s role for however long he may be out. His presence isn’t just physical. He is the heart of this team.
On great teams, when players go down, others step up. Who’s going to step up?