“Barring a setback, there’s optimism that Heat star Jimmy Butler will be able to play in Saturday’s Game 3 of Miami’s second-round playoff series against the Knicks, a source close to the situation said Thursday,” wrote the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang.
Butler missed Game 2 of the series after injuring his ankle in the fourth quarter of the series opener, which Miami ended up winning 108-101.
Jimmy in pain after turning his ankle pic.twitter.com/1HuifDAbqO
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) April 30, 2023
The six-time All-Star recorded 25 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals in the contest. He went 8-for-16 from the field and 9-for-11 from the charity stripe in what was another very efficient performance.
Naturally, the injury slowed him down a fair amount, and he became a nonfactor in the last five minutes of the game. However, the Heat were still able to hold out for a huge victory.
Miami nearly won Game 2 as well behind big performances from Gabe Vincent, Caleb Martin and Max Strus, but it didn’t have enough to overcome Butler’s absences. Some questionable calls were made by the referees in the contest, but the Heat did also let the game slip away after holding a six-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Earlier on Thursday, Heat big man Kevin Love offered a positive update on Butler.
Love, just now, on Butler: "He's not limping too much and seems to be getting treatment around the clock"
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) May 4, 2023
Butler appears to be doing everything he can to make sure he is able to suit up on Saturday afternoon at Kaseya Center.
The four-time All-NBA selection has arguably been the league’s best player during the 2023 playoffs, recording 35.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game while knocking down 58.5 percent of his shots from the field and 42.9 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
On Thursday, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t answer any questions about Butler’s health. Point guard Kyle Lowry did offer some comments about his teammate, however.
“As a guy that knows how competitive he is, I would be optimistic,” Lowry said of Butler’s availability for Game 3. “But who knows, honestly?”
Game 3 continues to get closer and closer, and the Heat will surely feel confident about their chances in that contest if Butler ends up on the court.