Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler is continuing to make every effort to play in the team’s Game 2 playoff contest against the New York Knicks on Tuesday, with his ankle sprain apparently not as serious as first believed.
Jimmy Butler wants to play tonight, per @ShamsCharania
“I think he’s gonna try to play as today goes on… That sprain wasn’t as serious as we all saw.” 👀
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) May 2, 2023
Butler injured the ankle on Sunday while driving to the basket in the fourth quarter of Game 1. In the immediate aftermath of the injury, Butler appeared to be in severe pain, but he remained in the game, with the Heat emerging with a 108-101 victory.
Jimmy in pain after turning his ankle pic.twitter.com/1HuifDAbqO
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) April 30, 2023
One day after Butler’s injury, there was plenty of uncertainty about his status. Heat players indicated that the squad was ready to move forward without Butler in the lineup while the star was getting lots of treatment done.
Butler’s efforts during this year’s playoffs have already had a huge impact on the Heat’s fortunes. The team advanced to the second round following a five-game upset of the Milwaukee Bucks in which Butler was integral to the last two victories.
In Game 4, Butler led an impressive comeback to give the Heat a commanding 3-1 advantage in the series, scoring 56 points during the clash. In the Game 5 clincher, his late clutch basket helped send the game into overtime.
JIMMY BUTLER WHAT!? pic.twitter.com/QZpYpThkmz
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) April 27, 2023
Having Butler available would help avoid having the Heat play without two of the team’s top three scorers this season. In Game 1 of the Heat’s series against the Bucks, Tyler Herro injured his hand. The Heat would reportedly need to make it to the NBA Finals in order for Herro to have a shot at returning this season.
In addition, one Heat source indicated that with Butler on the court, the likelihood of the team dispatching the Knicks in quick fashion is strong.
The chances of that taking place would become much more likely if the Heat were to again emerge with a win on Tuesday night. That would send the two teams back to Miami for two games with the Heat holding a 2-0 advantage and in position for a potential sweep.
If the Heat do indeed win on Tuesday night, Butler will have a few extra days to work on his ankle. Game 3 is set for Saturday afternoon at Kaseya Center.