Jimmy Butler misses practice ahead of Miami Heat's game vs Nuggets

Butler is expected to play.
Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets
Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

The Miami Heat could be without their best player for the biggest game remaining on the schedule, but they are hopeful they won’t be.

Jimmy Butler did not participate in Tuesday’s practice because of a non-COVID illness, the team announced, though he is expected to play in Wednesday night’s tilt against the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

The Heat will again be without Tyler Herro and Kevin Love, who have been ruled out with a right foot injury and a bruised heel, respectively.

The Miami Heat will again be without Tyler Herro and Kevin Love, while Jimmy Butler is expected to play against the Denver Nuggets after missing Tuesday's practice with an illness.

It is perhaps Miami’s last chance at a statement win this season. The Heat have one of the league’s easiest remaining schedules – a good thing overall, but it also means fewer opportunities to see how they measure up against elite competition.

“It definitely does,” Heat forward Caleb Martin said when asked if Wednesday’s game carries more significance. “Just because we haven’t done that great with the top teams in the league right now and having a rematch like that.”

The Heat last faced the Nuggets on Feb. 29 in Denver, where they lost, 103-97. MVP front-runner Nikola Jokic had just 18 points on 6 of 15 shooting, 11 rebounds and seven assists in the game, but Michael Porter Jr. erupted for 30. Butler finished with 21 points and Bam Adebayo had 22. 

The Heat will likely need more from their two stars to do something they couldn’t do in the 2023 Finals – beat the Nuggets on their home floor.