The Heat’s seven-game win streak ended here Monday, with a late rally falling short. But Miami seemingly avoided another big loss when X-rays showed no structural damage to Tyler Johnson’s injured left ankle.
The short-handed Heat, down by double figures for most of the first half, closed to within five on multiple occasions in the final four minutes but ultimately succumbed 119-111 at United Center.
Already without Dion Waiters for the balance of the season because of upcoming ankle surgery, the Heat (25-18) temporarily lost Johnson to an injury that was painful enough that he had to be carted off in the third quarter.
Johnson, who had 10 points, was hurt when he collided with Bulls center Robin Lopez on a drive to the basket. Johnson was on the court, near one of the baskets, for a couple of minutes before being carted off. The Heat announced the injury as a sprained ankle, and Johnson didn’t return to the game.
The timetable for a return from a sprained ankle can vary widely, with Waiters missing three games with one ankle sprain last season and 13 games with another.
At least for now, Wayne Ellington, Justise Winslow and Derrick Jones Jr. are the internal candidates to play shooting guard, with the Heat preferring to use the ignitable Ellington off the bench. Small forward Josh Richardson also can play shooting guard.
An hour after being named Eastern Conference player of the week for the second time this season, Goran Dragic shook off a 3 for 11 start to score 11 points in the fourth quarter to close with 22.
Kelly Olynyk scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 21 points and 8 assists. Ellington added 20 points and Richardson 11.
Hassan Whiteside didn’t play in the fourth quarter, finishing with nine points and eight rebounds.