Report: Jimmy Butler nearing return for Miami Heat amid latest round of injury updates'
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Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler appears to be nearing a return to the lineup for the team.

According to the Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman, if Butler is unable to play on Friday against the Orlando Magic, he is expected to return either Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets or on Monday against the Brooklyn Nets.

Winderman clarified that Butler would not play in both games of the back-to-back.

The Heat upgraded Butler to doubtful on their injury report for Friday’s contest.

A six-time All-Star, Butler has missed nine of the Heat’s last 10 games. The team has weathered the storm without him this season, posting a 7-6 record in the 13 games that Butler has missed. While that isn’t great, the team is at least playing over .500 basketball without its best player.

The Heat are still the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 21-16 record. The team is 14-10 in the 24 games that Butler has appeared in this season.

Getting Butler back at any point would be huge for Miami, especially since the team listed several other players on the injury report for Friday’s game, including one of its top scoring threats in guard Tyler Herro.

This season, Butler is averaging 21.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Miami has played without Butler before, as he’s never appeared in more than 64 games in a regular season for the team. Still, Miami has found a way to make the playoffs in each season that Butler has been on the roster, and the five-time All-NBA selection has stepped up in the playoffs.

Last season, Butler helped lead the Heat on an improbable run to the NBA Finals as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Heat knocked off the No. 1-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, No. 5-seeded New York Knicks and No. 2-seeded Boston Celtics to make the NBA Finals.

Orlando, Miami’s opponent on Friday, is also 21-16 on the season and currently is the No. 8 seed in the East. The Heat then take on two easier opponents in Charlotte (8-27) and Brooklyn (16-22).

Friday’s game between the Heat and Magic is scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m. EST from Kaseya Center in Miami.

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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.