Jimmy Butler’s agent suggests Miami Heat’s deep playoff runs may be linked to veteran’s injury woes

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Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler’s agent, Bernie Lee, suggested that the team’s deep playoff runs may be linked to Butler’s injury woes while providing an update on the veteran’s toe injury.

“Since the Utah game, we’ve been able to gather all the info we needed to feel comfortable to move forward, and thankfully everything that’s come back has indicated that this shouldn’t be a long-term or lingering issue,” Lee told the Sun Sentinel.

Lee acknowledged that Butler has led the Heat to deep playoff runs in three of the last four seasons and thus hasn’t had as much time to prepare for ensuing seasons as other players have.

“Not to state the obvious, but clearly injuries suck,” Lee said. “But taking into consideration that three of the last four years Jimmy has led his team into playing in the conference finals or Finals means Jimmy has played a lot of games that have bled into his offseason prep time for the following season.

“We are working to figure out the balance to that, but clearly it’s a good problem to have.”

Butler hasn’t appeared in more than 64 games in a single regular season with Miami since he joined the Heat ahead of the 2019-20 season.

So far in the 2023-24 regular season, Butler has appeared in just 24 of the Heat’s 35 games. He has played in one game for the Heat since Dec. 18 due to calf and toe injuries.

He logged 23 minutes in an eight-point loss to the Utah Jazz on Dec. 30 and finished with eight points, two rebounds, one assist and one block before leaving the third quarter of the game with his toe injury.

The Heat have struggled to win games lately amid Butler’s rocky injury stretch. The team has lost three out of its last four games, with those losses coming against the Jazz as well as the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns.

Most recently, Miami lost to the Suns on the road by 16 points on Friday. The Heat scored just 97 points as a team, and only two players — Bam Adebayo and Kevin Love — ended the night with more than 10 points for Miami.

After losing to the Suns, the Heat now share an identical record with the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference standings at 20-15.

Miami’s next chance to get back in the win column will come when the Heat take on the Houston Rockets at home on Jan. 8. The Rockets — led by head coach Ime Udoka — have surprised a lot of people this season. With a 17-16 record, the team has been playing competitive ball after being one of the worst teams in the NBA a season ago.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.