Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler has been officially ruled out of Game 2 against the New York Knicks with a sprained right ankle. The injury occurred in Miami's 108-101 win against the Knicks on Sunday, when Butler collided with Josh Hart on a drive to the basket in the fourth quarter.
Butler remained in the game after injuring the ankle on Sunday, but he isn't able to suit up for Game 2 Tuesday night. This comes after Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters Tuesday morning that the team wouldn't make a decision on Butler's Game 2 status until closer to the 7:30 p.m. game time before ultimately ruling the veteran out roughly 90 minutes before the opening tip.
"Look, at this point, yeah, we're having very reasonable conversations," Spoelstra said. "I know where his heart is. I know what he wants to do. This was not just a decision between Jimmy and I. We're probably the worst people to rely on to make that kind of decision, you know? So yeah, we have to pull into the medical staff, the trading staff, and we have to make a responsible decision. And that's the decision we made, and we're all on board with that."
Immediately after the play in Game 1, Butler remained on the ground for a significant period of time while he was attended to by the Heat's medical staff. After a timeout, Butler got to his feet and hobbled to the free throw line to shoot his free throws, making both to push the Heat's lead up to five.
It seemed at first that Butler was just shooting his free throws because he needed to do so if he wanted to come back in the game at any point. But, remarkably, he continued to play despite hobbling around in clear pain. He didn't do much down the stretch, but his presence helped the Heat close out the game and steal home court advantage.
"Find a way to win, be out there, be a presence," Butler said after the game. "I didn't do too much except for airball a 3, but I'll take the dub."
Butler added that his injury felt "like a rolled ankle," so the big question is how effective he will be moving forward if he's able to return later on in the series. He was spectacular in the Heat's historic first-round upset over the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks, and he put up 25 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals on 8-of-16 from the field in Game 1.
Miami goes as he goes, and with him unable to play past Game 2, it's going to be tough for the Heat the rest of the series, especially with Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo also sidelined with long-term injuries.