Jimmy Butler injury: Heat star out for Play-In game vs. Bulls on Friday with knee injury


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Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler has been ruled out of the team’s Play-In Tournament game against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night due to MCL sprain in his right knee, the team announced. The injury took place during the first quarter of Wednesday’s 105-104 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in the No. 7 vs. No. 8 Eastern Conference Play-In matchup. 

Butler remained in the game after the injury, finishing with 19 points, five assists and five steals on 5-for-18 shooting. There’s added importance on Butler’s health because the Heat will face the Chicago Bulls on Friday for the No. 8 seed, with the loser being eliminated from the postseason.

The Miami star is expected to miss multiple weeks, according to a report from Shams Charania. Butler will receive more clarity with an MRI scheduled on Thursday. 

Butler suffered the injury with seconds remaining in the first quarter when Kelly Oubre Jr. landed on him following a pump fake near the basket. The concern was immediate from the Heat players and coaches.

Butler limped to the locker room after the quarter ended, but later returned. In the final three quarters, he scored 12 points on 3-for-14 shooting and took just two shots in the last nine minutes of the game.

“It had me feeling that I couldn’t do too much,” said Butler, who was clearly limping on his way out of the Wells Fargo Center.

What Butler brings on both ends of the court — not to mention his leadership — simply cannot be replaced by anyone on the Heat roster. Miami’s offense landed in the bottom-10 during the regular season and dropped significantly with Butler off the floor. In his minutes, the Heat averaged 116 points per 100 possessions, compared to 109 when he was on the bench.

Butler has a history of grinding through injuries during the postseason while racking up gargantuan minute totals, but he was clearly hindered during Wednesday’s game and the reports are ominous. The Heat could still beat the Bulls in a one-game scenario, especially at home, but their chances of challenging the Boston Celtics in the first round without Butler would be very slim. 



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