Jimmy Butler to miss 'several weeks' with MCL sprain, Heat announce

Jimmy Butler will not play in the Miami Heat's game against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.
Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers - Play-In Tournament
Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers - Play-In Tournament / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Jimmy Butler is expected to miss multiple weeks with an MCL injury, putting the Miami Heat’s season in jeopardy ahead of Friday’s final play-in game against the Chicago Bulls.

The Miami Heat confirmed the news Thursday afternoon after an MRI revealed a right MCL sprain. The Heat ruled Butler out for Friday night's game against the Bulls and added that Butler will miss "several weeks."

Butler sustained the injury in the first quarter of Miami’s 105-104 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. Butler pump-faked and 76ers forward Kelly Oubre Jr. jumped and landed on Butler’s right leg. Butler crumpled to the court, grabbed at his right leg and screamed in pain.

Butler was in noticeable pain as he shot his free throws but remained in the game. He played nearly 40 minutes in the loss and finished with 19 points, four rebounds, five assists and five steals.

After the game, Butler had his knee wrapped in a protective sleeve and was badly limping as he walked out of the arena. Butler told reporters that he would undergo further testing.

“It’s not a good feeling. I can tell you that,” Butler said.

Although Butler had his moments, including several steals that helped Miami build a 14-point lead, he was noticeably limited by the fourth quarter. 

Butler spent the final moments of a close game grimacing in pain and spending most offensive possessions in the corner as Tyler Herro, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Bam Adebayo tried to lift the Heat to a win that would have secured the No. 7 seed and a first-round series against the New York Knicks.

“I thought the adrenaline would kick back in and I would be able to move, and it just wasn’t the case,” Butler said. “I couldn’t do too much, which sucks, with the timing of the game and everything.”

Now the Heat will face the Bulls at Kaseya Center on Friday night. The winner of the game will advance to the playoffs as the No. 8 seed and play the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round. Lose and the season is over.

But, practically, Miami’s season may already be over. In a season mired by injury, it’s almost fitting that the Heat’s best player would suffer an injury that essentially ends his season. Even if the Heat do beat the Bulls on Friday, they will have zero chance to beat the rampaging Celtics without Butler.

Butler deserves credit for gutting through an injury in Philadelphia and trying to give his team a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference playoffs and avoid the Celtics. But, in a season defined by obstacles, there are just too many for the Heat to make another miraculous run to the Finals.