Florida Notes: Butler, Highsmith, Carter, Fultz

The Heat have a new injury concern with Jimmy Butler, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Returning to the lineup after missing the previous four games with a left calf strain, Butler had to leave Saturday’s contest at Utah after hurting his right foot in a collision with Collin Sexton. According to Chiang, Butler walked slowly to Miami’s bench after the play and then headed to the locker room.

Head coach Eric Spoelstra wasn’t able to offer an update on Butler’s condition after the game, but X-rays taken on his foot were negative. Chiang states that the team will see how Butler is feeling over the next few days before deciding whether to perform an MRI.

Chiang notes that Butler has already missed eight games this season and may have to add to that total. With Tyler Herro sidelined for a long stretch due to a sprained ankle and Bam Adebayo dealing with nagging injuries, the team’s three best players have only been together for eight games.

There’s more on the two Florida teams:

  • Haywood Highsmith was helped to the locker room in the final seconds of Saturday’s game after he also collided with Sexton and was hit in the head and neck area, Chiang adds. Injuries have already caused Highsmith to miss 11 games. The Heat were using their 18th different starting lineup of the season Saturday, as ongoing injuries gave rare starts to Nikola Jovic and two-way player R.J. Hampton.
  • Goga Bitadze was back in the Magic‘s starting lineup on Friday, but he didn’t find out about the assignment until an hour before game time, per Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. Wendell Carter Jr.‘s right knee flared up during warm-ups and he was ruled out because of tendinitis. “Honestly, even before the game I thought he was going to play,” Bitadze said. “We talked with him an hour before the game. I don’t want to say it was hard, but it was different. You’ve got to lock in differently when you start the games than when you come off the bench. I had to lock in and find a place [mentally] where I was ready to start. I think I did a good job and it was a great win.” Coach Jamahl Mosley said the medical staff will monitor Carter closely as he continues to work his way back after missing 20 games with an injured left hand.
  • Markelle Fultz is listed as questionable for the Magic‘s contest Sunday at Phoenix, meaning there’s a chance he could return after missing 23 games with tendinitis in his left knee, Beede adds.
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