Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler has been officially ruled out of Game 2 against the New York Knicks with a sprained right ankle. The injury occurred in Miami’s 108-101 win against the Knicks on Sunday when Butler collided with Josh Hart on a drive to the basket in the fourth quarter.
#MIAvsNYK INJURY UPDATE: Jimmy Butler (ankle) has been ruled out of tonight’s Game 2 vs the Knicks.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 2, 2023
Butler returned to the game after injuring his ankle on Sunday, but he will not be able to play in Game 2 on Tuesday night. This comes after Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters Tuesday morning that the team will make a decision on Butler’s Game 2 status closer to the 7:30 p.m. game time, eventually ruling the veteran out 90 minutes before tip-off.
“Look, at this point, yeah, we’re having very reasonable conversations,” Spoelstra said. “I know where his heart is. I know what he wants to do. This was not just a decision between Jimmy and I. We’re probably the worst people to rely on to make that kind of decision, you know? So yeah, we have to pull into the medical staff, the trading staff and we have to make a responsible decision. And that’s our decision, and we’re all on board with that.”
Immediately after the play in Game 1, Butler remained on the ground for a significant period of time while the Heat’s medical staff attended to him.
After a timeout, Butler got to his feet and hobbled to the free throw line to shoot his free throws, making both to push the Heat’s lead up to five.
At first, it appeared that Butler was just shooting free throws because he needed to if he wanted to get back into the game at any time. Despite hobbling around in obvious pain, he continued to play. He didn’t contribute much down the stretch, but his presence helped the Heat win and take home-court advantage.
“Find a way to win, be out there, be a presence,” Butler said after the game. “I didn’t do too much except for airball a 3, but I’ll take the dub.”
Butler added that his injury felt “like a rolled ankle,” so the big question is how effective he will be moving forward if he can return later in the series. He was spectacular in the Heat’s historic first-round upset over the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks, and he put up 25 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and two steals on 8-of-16 from the field in Game 1.
Miami goes as he goes, and with him unable to play past Game 2, it will be tough for the Heat the rest of the series, especially with Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo also sidelined with long-term injuries.
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