Miami, which has already dealt with significant injuries — Bam Adebayo is still out with a torn thumb ligament — and COVID absences, cannot catch a break from the basketball gods.
Monday night against Golden State, Jimmy Butler went down with what the team later described as a right ankle injury, and he had to be helped off the court. He did not return. Butler was trying to drive around Juan Toscano-Anderson when his left foot slipped, he lost his balance and had an awkward plant of his right foot as he collapsed to the ground.
Jimmy Butler needed to be helped off the court after sustaining an apparent right leg injury pic.twitter.com/6WYtVZkTIC
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 4, 2022
There was no authoritative word on the severity of the injury after the game, with Heat coach Eric Spoelstra giving the update.
Erik Spoelstra on Jimmy Butler: "If you talk to Jimmy right now, he says he's fine. … We'll have to evaluate him tomorrow."
— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) January 4, 2022
Players are often the worst evaluators of their own injuries.
Butler, the Heat’s leading scorer at 23.2 points per game (plus he is second in assists and third in rebounds), has already missed 15 games this season due to various injuries. Despite all the injuries and absences, the Heat have continued to win, with a 23-15 record that has them solidly in fourth place in the East. However, they couldn’t get the win against the Warriors, who knocked off another top team with this 115-108 victory.
If the Heat are going to be a playoff threat, they will need Butler and the rest of the core to get healthy. Fortunately, there is plenty of time for that.