Miami Heat rival suffers potentially devastating injury to star guard

Feb 10, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) drives to
Feb 10, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) drives to / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

A team the Miami Heat are competing with for position in the Eastern Conference standings may have suffered a substantial blow in the final weeks of the season.

New York Knicks star guard Jalen Brunson left Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers with a left knee injury. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after the game that Brunson has a knee contusion and that there is no timeline for Brunson’s return.

Brunson’s absence could be devastating for the Knicks, who have lost seven of their last 10 games and are just 1.5 games ahead of the Heat for the No. 4 seed.

The Miami Heat have dealt with more injuries than any playoff team in the league, but a few East rivals suffered some key injuries over the weekend.

Brunson appeared to sustain the injury after attempting a jumper over Cleveland’s Isaac Okoro. There was no contact on the play but Brunson’s legs split awkwardly when he landed. He staggered away from the play before crumpling to the floor and grabbing at his left leg. Brunson was then assisted to the locker room in obvious pain.

Miami’s other East rivals are dealing with injury issues. The Philadelphia 76ers are awaiting the return of star center Joel Embidd, who told reporters last week that he hopes to return before the end of the regular season. Guard Tyrese Maxey exited Sunday’s win over the Dallas Mavericks after taking a shot to the back of the head but returned to finish the game.

Center Kristaps Porzingis missed the Boston Celtics’ win over the Golden State Warriors with a quad injury.

The Heat are not without their injury concerns. Tyler Herro is dealing with a right foot injury after recovering from a knee sprain that sidelined him for the last four games. Josh Richardson has missed the last seven games as he recovers from a dislocated right shoulder and Kevin Love has missed the last two games with an ankle bruise.

Two-and-a-half games separate the Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, Heat and Indiana Pacers for seeds 4-8 in the East.