Hurt Haslem sidelined at least until late February

The torn ligament in the left foot of Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem(notes) will at least keep him out until the All-Star break in February – and possibly for a significant portion of the regular season, a league source told Yahoo! Sports on Sunday night.

Haslem will be examined by a foot specialist Monday, and that doctor will make a recommendation on whether the Heat’s top inside presence will need surgery to repair the injury. Nevertheless, the Heat and Haslem are prepared for the fact that late February and probably March are likely his earliest possible returns to the floor. If surgery is needed, the recovery could push into the spring.

Haslem suffered the injury in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. An MRI confirming the torn ligament was performed on Sunday in Miami.

Haslem has averaged 8.0 points and 8.2 rebounds in 13 games for the Heat, who will miss his toughness on the boards and defensive interior. The Heat will have to turn to Zydrunas Illgauskas to play more minutes in the frontcourt and use lineups that will include LeBron James(notes) at power forward.

Free-agent center Erick Dampier(notes) is still available, but Heat president Riley has only shown modest interest in him. The Heat have been willing to use point guard Mario Chalmers(notes) as a trading chip, but that had mostly been with an eye on adding another veteran point guard, front office sources said.