Report: Jimmy Butler now expected to return for Friday’s Miami Heat-Boston Celtics showdown

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The Miami Heat are gaining ground in the Eastern Conference standings thanks to their three-game winning streak, and the team recently got some news regarding superstar Jimmy Butler.

Butler was previously expected to be back from injury in time for Wednesday’s matchup versus the Boston Celtics. While he is now expected to sit that game out, he is currently projected to return on Friday against Boston.

“Butler was not with the Heat for Tuesday’s practice at Emerson College, so the expectation is that Butler, who has missed the past six games with a sore right knee, will be back with the team for Friday night’s game at TD Garden,” Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel reported.

As Heat fans know well, the Celtics are the team that bounced the Heat in the Game 7 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals. Boston currently looks like one of the strongest sides in the league this season. The Celtics own a 17-4 record and are two games up on the Milwaukee Bucks for the top seed in the East.

As for the Heat, they’re currently sitting at the No. 10 seed with a record of 10-11. Butler has missed all three of those wins as well as the three games prior.

It has been tough sledding for the Heat for much of the month of November due to various injuries.

When Butler does return, the Heat will be getting back one of the best two-way players in the league. So far this season, he’s averaged 20.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. He’s shooting the ball quite well this season, hitting 48.3 percent of his shots from the field and 35.5 percent of his attempts from deep.

Perhaps the silver lining of Butler’s current absence is that it has forced big man Bam Adebayo to step things up on the offensive side.

He has answered the call and put in some of the best performances in his NBA career in recent games. He dropped 38 points in Miami’s win over the Washington Wizards and followed that up with a 32-point clinic against the Atlanta Hawks.

The hope for Heat fans is that Adebayo can maintain his current level of aggressiveness on the offensive side even when Butler returns. If that pans out, the Heat could quickly start making up ground in the standings.

For now, fans can expect to see Butler back on Friday. Hopefully that is the timeline that the six-time All-Star ends up being able to stick to.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Heat Nation.