Miami Heat players preparing to play without Jimmy Butler in Game 2 vs. New York Knicks

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Jimmy Butler is uncertain for Game 2 of the Miami Heat’s playoff series on Tuesday, with Heat players preparing for the possibility that he’ll be unable to play.

Butler injured his right ankle while driving to the basket during the Heat’s Game 1 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday. Nonetheless, he stay on the court as the Heat finished out the 108-101 win.

However, when Butler went down, it became clear that he was in obvious pain and was holding his ankle.

Butler’s characteristically high-intensity focus is certain to have him making every effort to play. Yet having him play on an injured ankle runs the risk of aggravating the issue even more.

Not having Butler in the lineup would be yet another blow to a Heat starting unit that is already missing Tyler Herro. Butler’s injury was a frustrating deja vu, since Herro injured his hand in the Heat’s first-round series opener against the Milwaukee Bucks and may not return this season.

It was Butler who fueled the Heat’s stunning upset of the Bucks in five games, with his eye-popping 56 points in Game 4 forging a comeback win. He then connected on an improbable alley-oop in the Game 5 clincher to send the contest into overtime.

That leadership continued in Sunday’s contest, with Butler delivering a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds. He also added four assists and two steals, while connecting 9-of-11 from the foul line.

If Butler is unable to go, the Heat are hoping that 37-year-old Kyle Lowry can again deliver a standout performance to mitigate the impact of that loss. After struggling for most of the season to make an impact on the court, Lowry finished Sunday’s game with 18 points, six assists, five rebounds and actually led the Heat with four blocked shots.

The Heat gained the home-court advantage with Sunday’s win and could put the Knicks in a huge hole by coming away with another win. After that contest, the two teams won’t play again until Saturday afternoon in Miami, which will give Butler additional time to nurse his injured ankle.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.