The Heat ruled Butler out for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the New York Knicks due to a sprained ankle.
Coach Spo on the decision to rule Jimmy Butler out of tonight’s Game 2 due to an ankle injury pic.twitter.com/te8uBWWmw7
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 2, 2023
“At this point, yeah we’re having very reasonable conversations,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game. “I know where his heart is, I know what he wants to do, but this is not just a decision between Jimmy and I. We’re probably the worst people, you know, to rely on to make that kind of a decision … We have to make a responsible decision, and that was the decision we made and we’re all on board with that.”
The Knicks confirmed that both Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle will play in Game 2. Both Brunson and Randle were dealing with their own minor ankle injuries. Randle missed Game 1 of the series because of it.
Butler sprained his right ankle in the final minutes of Miami's seven-point win over the Knicks in Game 1 on Sunday. Butler was driving to the rim against Knicks guard Josh Hart when his right ankle rolled hard. Butler drew a foul on the play, but was down on the court at Madison Square Garden for quite some time in pain before finally shooting his free throws.
Jimmy Butler hurt his ankle with 5:05 to go. He stayed in for the rest of the game to stand in the corner and do nothing as a decoy.
The Knicks lost those minutes by four points. 😳pic.twitter.com/AKWqwWHRGq
— Ahaan Rungta (@AhaanRungta) April 30, 2023
While he didn't leave the game, Butler was very limited in what he could do the rest of the way. He finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, but didn't score any more points after his free throws.
It's unclear how long Butler will be sidelined. If he's out for an extended period of time, however, the Heat could be in trouble. Butler averaged nearly 38 points in Miami's 4-1 series win over the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. He dropped 56 points in Game 4 of that series, and then hit a wild tip-in bucket to force overtime in Game 5.
Game 3 of the series is set for Saturday in Miami, which gives Butler a few extra days to recover. Considering he didn't have to leave the game early on Sunday after initially going down with the ankle injury, the nearly weeklong break between games may be all he needs to bounce back.