Heat’s Jimmy Butler reportedly out multiple weeks after knee injury in play-in loss

Even if the Miami Heat make it to the postseason, they might be without their top star for the opening round.

Jimmy Butler is expected to miss multiple weeks as the team fears he suffered an MCL injury in the first half of their play-in tournament loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, The Athletic reported. Butler is expected to undergo an MRI on Thursday.

Butler was hurt late in the first quarter when he tried to fake out Kelly Oubre Jr. on a bucket, only to have his knee buckle as he fell to the court. Oubre appeared to land on the Heat star, who led the franchise to the NBA Finals last season.

“I fell, he landed and my knee just didn’t do well, I guess,” Butler said. “I don’t know. It’s not a good feeling, I can tell you that.”

Butler sank the free throw, exhaled and missed the second one. He remained in the game and scored 19 points, but it wasn’t enough in Philadelphia’s 105-104 win on Wednesday night.

The Heat host the Chicago Bulls on Friday night, with the winner landing the No. 8 seed and facing the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. 

“We just need to get one and then we’ll worry about the next one,” Butler said.

It was not immediately clear if Butler would be available to play.

“It felt like I couldn’t do too much, which sucks with the timing of the game and everything,” Butler said. “I hope that I’m fine. I hope that I wake up tomorrow and can still stick and move. Right now, I can’t say that’s the case.”

Butler, a former Sixer, scored 20.8 points in 60 games for the Heat. The 34-year-old said he stayed in the game because he thought the “adrenaline would kick back in” and he would feel healthy enough to play at his usual level.

Butler was 5-for-18 from the floor overall but scored just two points in the fourth quarter when the Heat collapsed.

“It just wasn’t the case,” he said. “I wasn’t able to do anything on either side of the ball. I think I hurt us more than I helped us, actually.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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