Jimmy Butler says foot injury could have been 'way worse'

Butler is still experiencing pain but hopes to start ramping up to a Miami Heat return soon.
Miami Heat v Utah Jazz
Miami Heat v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

MIAMI -- Jimmy Butler said he initially thought his foot injury could have been “way worse than what it was,” and is optimistic he can return to the Miami Heat lineup soon.

Butler, who has missed the last four games with an injury that was initially listed as a right foot but was changed to a right toe, has been ruled out for Wednesday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Kaseya Center.

After missing four straight games with a calf strain, Butler injured his foot when while taking a step in Miami’s Dec. 30 game in Utah. Butler felt severe pain right away and grimmaced as he walked off the court after just 23 minutes of play. But Butler said that he was relieved when tests came back.

“I actually thought it was way worse than what it was,” Butler said Tuesday. “I was scared for a much larger reason because of a bruise or a bone bruise. I’m just so glad it wasn’t what myself and some other people might have thought.”

Butler said the pain has subsided some and, over the next few days, he will work on running, cutting and jumping. 

“We still have a couple more days before we get get [to] tolerable pain,” he said.

This was the first time Butler addressed the media since sustaining the injury, and there is no official timetable for his return. Butler is still experiencing pain and spent Tuesday afternoon taking stand-still shots off to the side of the Heat’s practice. It’s too early to say he’s ramping up to a return, but he does say he’s making progress.

“We’re doing everything we can to get me back on the floor, I can say that,” Butler said. “I’m moving better. I can break a little sweat, and I promise I’ll be ready to go when I can.”

With Butler sidelined, the Heat over the last three games have started rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. and second-year forward Nikola Jovic alongside Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo. Jaquez and Jovic have played well and the Heat are 2-1 in that stretch (and 6-2 in their last eight games without Butler). 

“I knew that was gonna happen. They’re gonna help this organization a long time after I’m gone,” Butler said. “It’s good that everybody here that already knows it and the world can see what the young guys are capable of.”

Other injury news

Kyle Lowry and Caleb Martin did not participate in practice on Tuesday. Both were held out because of illnesses that have been bothering them the last few days. Their status for Wednesday’s game is undetermined.

An update on Lowry’s hand, which forced him out of Monday night’s game against the Rockets, is expected later Tuesday.