Heat G Jimmy Butler (knee) could miss ‘weeks,’ set for MRI

Field Level Media

April 18, 2024 at 9:52 pm.

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler, who has been ruled out for Friday’s play-in finale against the Chicago Bulls, reportedly could miss weeks with a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

ESPN and The Athletic reported Thursday that Butler was awaiting tests to confirm the severity of the injury suffered in Wednesday’s 105-104 loss to the 76ers. He confirmed postgame that he was headed for an MRI exam. He was hurt when Philadelphia’s Kelly Oubre Jr. fell on him with 1.5 seconds to play in the first quarter but returned and finished the game.

“I fell, he landed and my knee just didn’t do well, I guess,” Butler said. “I don’t know. It’s not a good feeling, I can tell you that.”

The Athletic reported Thursday that Butler would likely miss “multiple weeks.”

On Thursday afternoon, the Heat formally ruled Butler out against the Bulls, calling it an MCL sprain. The team hasn’t released how long Butler is expected to be sidelined.

Butler got up from the collision and made 1 of 2 foul shots, giving him seven points on 2-of-4 shooting in the opening period against the 76ers. He stayed in the game but finished 5-for-18 from the floor, scoring 19 points in 40 minutes.

“It felt like I couldn’t do too much, which sucks with the timing of the game and everything,” Butler said. “I hope that I’m fine. I hope that I wake up (Thursday) and can still stick and move. Right now, I can’t say that’s the case.”

After the loss at Philadelphia, the Heat head home to face the Bulls — one of Butler’s former teams — with the game deciding which team earns the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed and a date with the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

Butler, 34, averaged 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists over 60 games in the just-concluded regular season. The six-time All-Star has career averages of 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists with the Bulls (2011-17), the Minnesota Timberwolves (2017-18), 76ers (2018-19) and Heat.

The Bulls listed guard Alex Caruso as questionable for Friday’s elimination game. He is dealing with a left ankle injury after being stepped on by teammate Andre Drummond in Wednesday’s game.

Caruso, 30, averaged 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 71 games (57 starts) during the 2023-24 regular season.

Drummond (left ankle) and guard Ayo Dosunmu (quadricep) also are questionable for Chicago.

Miami guard Terry Rozier (neck) has been ruled out of Friday’s game. This will be his sixth straight missed game.

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