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Alex Caruso could miss Bulls' play-in game vs. Heat on Friday with foot injury, per report

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The Chicago Bulls may have to face the Miami Heat without their best defender, Alex Caruso, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported he suffered a "significant" right foot sprain. Caruso sustained the injury in Chicago's 131-116 Play-In Tournament win against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday to extend their season. But now it appears he may not be healthy enough when the Bulls take on the Heat to try and secure the No. 8 spot in the East playoffs.

Caruso's injury happened in the second quarter when he got tangled up with Bulls big man Andre Drummond. With the Hawks in transition, Drummond basically plowed right over Caruso as both were trying to get back on defense, and it sent the All-Defensive guard to the ground, where he winced in pain for a moment. After making it back to his feet, Caruso tried to walk it off but could barely put any weight on his right leg and limped over to Chicago's bench area, where Bulls coach Billy Donovan proceeded to call a timeout to get him out of the game. Caruso went back to the locker room, and tried to play in the second half, but only ended up playing a little over two minutes.

After the game, Caruso said it was the same foot he had been having issues with the last couple weeks of the regular season.

"[Drummond] caught me on my right foot that kinda gave out [and] my left one tried to catch me," Caruso said. "Just kind of tweaked my ankle a little bit --- that same one I was dealing with for the last couple weeks of the season that we were managing and figuring out."

Fortunately, the Bulls were able to carry on without Caruso in the second half against a Hawks team that didn't put up too much of a fight, but going against Miami on Friday is going to be a more difficult task. There's a chance the Heat could be without Jimmy Butler for that game, as it was reported that he could miss several weeks with an MCL injury. Still, even without Butler, the Heat are a tough matchup, and the Bulls will need everything they have defensively to beat this team on the road.

The defensive impact Caruso makes can't be overstated. He's Chicago's best perimeter defender and, when needed, can hold his own against bigger defenders, too. When he's on the floor, the Bulls allow seven fewer points per 100 possessions than when he sits, and he's averaging a career-high 10.1 points on just over 40% from 3-point range. There isn't someone who can immediately step in and fill his shoes defensively, so that means the rest of the Bulls roster will have to be more connected on that end of the floor without Caruso to rely upon.

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