Miami Heat get hit with brutal injury news ahead of Christmas Day matchup vs. Philadelphia 76ers

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The showdown between the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers set to take place on Christmas has received another brutal blow, as Jimmy Butler has been ruled out for the contest due to a calf injury.

Butler missed his team’s Sunday practice and was previously listed as questionable for the game. Haywood Highsmith, who also missed practice, was ruled out as well after being listed as questionable.

As for Josh Richardson, he had been listed as probable with a back injury.

There had been a decent amount of hype for the contest before 76ers star Joel Embiid was recently ruled out due to an ankle injury. Fans of the game are likely even more disappointed in the wake of the Butler news.

Butler has missed the team’s last two games, both of which ended in Heat wins. He’s played in 23 of Miami’s 29 games so far this season, recording 21.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game while making 46.2 percent of his shots from the field and 37.7 percent of his shots from downtown.

Highsmith has become a decent 3-and-D player for Miami, connecting on 33.9 percent of his 3-point attempts. He takes defense seriously, as evidenced by comments of his from last month about trying to make an All-Defensive team.

Richardson is in his second stint with the Heat and averaging 10.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He’s also shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Miami is currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a 17-12 record. Philadelphia is 3.5 games ahead of them with a 20-8 record, good for third in the East.

With Butler and Embiid both out, the spotlight will shift to players like Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Tyrese Maxey. All of them have been having pretty solid seasons and should show out on Monday night.

Following Monday’s game against Philly, Miami will begin a five-game road trip on Dec. 28 that includes games against the Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns.

The Heat don’t have another home game until Jan. 8 of next year.

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David is a Miami native and University of Maryland graduate with experience in writing, editing and video production. He is a proud contributor of Heat Nation.