The Miami Heat are preparing to play Tuesday’s Game 2 against the New York Knicks without star Jimmy Butler, who is dealing with a right knee sprain, players and coaches told reporters Monday.
Butler sustained the injury with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Miami’s 108-101 Game 1 win in New York on Sunday. Butler was driving to the basket when his right foot turned and got caught under Knicks guard Josh Hart.
After Hart was called for the foul, Butler writhed in pain for an extended period of time. Cameras caught Heat coach Erik Spoelstra mouthing an expletive as he watched Butler lay on the court. But Butler remained in the game, shot his free throws and played the next four minutes as the Heat went on a run to close out the road win. The six-time All-Star finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals in 43 minutes.
“Like a rolled ankle,” Butler said when asked how his right ankle was feeling during the broadcast’s postgame interview. He has not spoken with reporters.
Spoelstra said Monday that Butler is “doing treatment around the clock” but that an update on his status isn’t expected until closer to Tuesday night’s tip.
“We probably won’t have any update until before the game,” Spoelstra added.
The Heat are preparing to play without Butler. Having already lost guards Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo to longterm injuries in their first-round series against the Bucks, the Heat are low on depth. If Butler cannot play, the Heat could turn to Caleb Martin, Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson or Haywood Highsmith to start in his place. Butler is averaging 35.5 points on 58.5% shooting, 6.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.8 steals in six playoff games.
This season, the Heat went 9-9 without Butler. If Butler cannot play Tuesday, he would have nearly a week off between games since the Heat and Knicks don’t play Game 3 until Saturday. The Heat must provide an injury report for Tuesday night’s game by 5:30 p.m. ET Monday.