The NBA Play-In Tournament may still be in its infancy, but based on how the teams who’ve won to make the playoffs have fared since it was introduced, there weren’t many signs the Heat would end up advancing past the Bucks in the first round.
However, Miami was able to flip the script in a big way.
The Heat only needed five games to send Milwaukee home for the season thanks in no small part to the performance of Jimmy Butler, who emerged as the undisputed star of the series thanks to the 37.6 points he averaged in each contest (including a heroic 56 point effort in Game 4).
Butler also posted 25 points when Miami took a 1-0 lead over the Knicks in the second round with a 108-101 victory on Sunday, but the win was marred by the ankle injury Butler suffered with around five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Jimmy Butler rolls his ankle. Hope he’s ok. 🙏
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) April 30, 2023
It appeared Butler was able to avoid any serious damage, but the initial prognosis was still less than ideal based on a report that asserted his ankle had swelled to “the size of a baseball.”
Not gonna take a photo but Jimmy Butler’s ankle is swollen to about the size of a baseball. He just had his ankle taped. That’s gonna be painful in the morning.
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) April 30, 2023
As a result, plenty of people assumed he’d be out of commission for Game 2 of the series on Tuesday night. However, Shams Charina implied Butler could, in fact, be on the court when the two teams meet again at Madison Square Garden based on what he had to say on Tuesday morning.
“I’m told Jimmy Butler wants to play, I think he’s gonna try to play as today goes on… That sprain wasn’t as serious as we all saw – we’ll learn more in the coming hours”@ShamsCharania with the latest on Jimmy Butler’s injured ankle#HEATCulture | #RunItBack pic.twitter.com/qLDI2MMIYZ
— FanDuel TV (@FanDuelTV) May 2, 2023
It’s worth noting Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra declined to offer any concrete update concerning Butler’s status, so it does seem like it will ultimately be a game-time decision.
Speaking to media this morning after shootaround, Erik Spoelstra says he doesn’t have an update on Jimmy Butler’s status for Game 2. He says the team will know more when they arrive at the arena tonight.
— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) May 2, 2023
The Heat have already repeatedly defied the odds over the course of the current postseason, but Butler has obviously played an instrumental role in allowing them to do exactly that.
He may not be 100% if he does play, but I think most fans of the franchise would agree a hobbled Jimmy Butler is better than no Jimmy Butler at all.