Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler admits he’s not fully healthy'
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Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler admitted that he’s not fully healthy as he deals with a knee injury that has hampered him in the 2022-23 season.

Butler has appeared in 24 games for the Heat this season, but he’s missed 14. The team has a 7-7 record this season when Butler is out of the lineup.

“We just got to maintain this thing and take care of it,” Butler said. “I mean, it’s part of the game, but I want to be right, I want to be a hundred, so I can go out there and do what I’m supposed to do.”

The Heat are coming off a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. Butler, who had sat out the team’s previous game against the Utah Jazz, started against the Clippers.

He finished the game with just nine points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field. He also added two rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Butler explained that he can play on his knee, but he’s not at 100 percent at this point in the season. The Heat are hoping that he can get better, otherwise it’s possible this injury could nag him all the way into the postseason.

“It is,” Butler said when asked if his knee is trending in the right direction. “Because I can go out there and compete. I can’t say that I’m fully healthy. But there are a lot of people that are not. So I think that’s good on a lot of levels.

“The more rest that I have and able to get that recovery that I need is always going to be better. So hell, whenever I’m not playing, I’m doing something to try to get it right.”

Butler has sat out a bunch of games that were a part of a back-to-back over the last month. He missed games against the Detroit Pistons, Oklahoma City Thunder and Jazz, which were all either the first or second game of a back-to-back.

There’s no doubt that the Heat need a healthy Butler if they want to compete for a title in the 2022-23 season. Despite his knee injury, the six-time All-Star is averaging 21.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game while shooting 52.1 percent from the field this season.

The Heat have leaned on Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo as their primary scorers when Butler has missed time, but in the playoffs, the team needs its superstar to be on his game.

In his first three seasons in Miami, Butler has led the team to the Eastern Conference Finals twice and the NBA Finals once. He nearly led the team to the Finals last season, but the Heat lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The team has been cautious with Butler’s injury, resting him when he needs it. That is probably a better strategy for the Heat right now to win games rather than having Butler sit out completely until he feels 100 percent.

Butler and the Heat will continue their road trip on Wednesday when they take on the Los Angeles Lakers at 10 p.m. EST.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.