Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat have been arguably the biggest story of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. So when he went down with a nasty ankle injury in Sunday’s game, fans held their breath as he limped around the floor.
Butler has been putting on a historic playoff run, even though we are only through one full series. Against the title favorite Milwaukee Bucks, the Heat forward averaged 37.6 points per game, including a 56-point performance in Game 3 and a 42-point night in Game 4.
Jimmy Butler Apparently Up And Walking A Day Ahead Of Game 2
Jimmy Butler limped to the free throw line after rolling his ankle.
He made both. pic.twitter.com/Obfa4NBqEC
— ESPN (@espn) April 30, 2023
He was good enough to lead his 8th-seeded squad past the 1st-seeded Bucks, ending what was a promising and hopeful season for Milwaukee. For Miami, the unlikely victory set up a meeting with an old rival that has fans of late-1990s basketball in pure nostalgia.
The New York Knicks pulled an upset in their first round series as well, defeating the 4th-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers. It earned them a date with the Heat, in which they entered the series as the favorites.
Riding their relentless momentum from their first round series, the Heat were in control for most of Game 1. The Knicks made multiple attempts at a comeback, but were consistently cut short, as New York shot just 20.6% from 3. Miami wound up winning the game 108-101, but all eyes and thoughts were on their star player.
Heat Will Need Butler, But Maybe Not Until Game 3
During the 4th quarter, Butler’s ankle was rolled up on by Josh Hart, leaving him writhing in pain on the ground as the ABC broadcast cut to commercial. When they returned, Butler was up and walking, but with a noticeable limp. He remained in the game, but was something of a decoy, as his uncomfort was apparent.
Jimmy Butler posted a picture of himself walking in New York City on his IG story after injuring his ankle in Game 1 👀 pic.twitter.com/259YIQ3WKi
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 1, 2023
Nabbing the Game 1 victory in New York and stealing home court is huge for the Heat. But it won’t mean much if they are without their star player after already losing Tyler Herro for the playoffs. The status of Butler was in serious question, and his availability for Game 2 on Tuesday is unknown.
But given the image that he himself posted on Instagram on Monday, things might be progressing nicely with Jimmy Butler and his ankle.
The photo is posted to his Instagram story, and shows him walking down the street in New York City with what looks like a very small coffee in his hand. While it is impossible to diagnose a leg injury from a still picture, there is insinuation behind Butler posting it himself. He knows that the talk is about his ankle and whether he’ll be ready to play, and he knows what it would mean for people to see him walking normally about 30 hours before game time.
Game 2 is scheduled to tip off at 730PM Eastern on Tuesday night. Butler is listed as doubtful.
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