NBA insider offers latest on Jimmy Butler amid absence from Miami Heat lineup

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Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

An NBA insider offered the latest on Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler amid his absence from the team.

“Jimmy Butler is gonna have to take some time here,” Shams Charania said. “He dealt with a calf strain on the opposite leg, and now he has a foot issue on the other leg. And Jimmy Butler, this is a guy that we forget — he’s advanced in his career. This is a guy that’s on the other side of 30. He’s played at such a high peak level in his prime. His prime has extended so long in my opinion. So, they’re gonna be cautious with him.”

Butler hasn’t taken the floor for the Heat since the team’s eight-point loss to the Utah Jazz on Dec. 30. The 34-year-old played just 23 minutes in that game and finished with eight points, two rebounds and one assist while shooting 2-of-3 from the floor.

In 24 appearances with the storied Heat franchise so far during the 2023-24 regular 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 outside the 3-point arc.

The Heat have fared well without arguably their best player in the lineup this season. On Wednesday, the Heat beat the Los Angeles Lakers on the road by 14 points without Butler.

The Heat put together an impressive collective performance on the offensive end of the floor in the win. A whopping eight players managed to reach double digits in scoring for Miami, and Tyler Herro scored a team-high 21 points in 28 minutes of playing time.

Plus, the Heat shot 44.1 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from behind the 3-point arc as a team against the Lakers.

Miami improved to 20-14 on the season with its victory over Los Angeles. The Heat are also the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference right now and three-and-a-half games back of Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers  — who have won seven out of their last 10 games — for the third-best record in the conference.

The Heat will hope to pick up their second win in a row when they take on the Phoenix Suns on the road on Friday. The Suns haven’t quite lived up to expectations so far this season, as the team owns the ninth-best record in the Western Conference at 18-16.

While the Heat have managed to keep their head above water in the standings without Butler, here’s to hoping that he makes his return to the team sooner rather than later, as Miami is simply a better team with him on the floor.

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