Heat without Jimmy Butler against Mavericks

Heat without Jimmy Butler against Mavericks
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Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
·2 min read
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Jimmy Butler was a surprise scratch for the Miami Heat’s Tuesday night game against the Dallas Mavericks at AmericanAirlines Arena, for what the team listed as flu-like symptoms.

“He’s just really under the weather. He has tested negative,” coach Erik Spoelstra said of the NBA’s COVID-19 vigilance. “But he really is not feeling well.”

Butler, Spoelstra said, was with the team at Tuesday morning’s shootaround at AmericanAirlines Arena. He was not listed on the NBA’s 1:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. injury reports.

It is the Heat’s first game without Butler since he missed pair of games in mid-April with an ankle sprain, with the Heat winning both games of that home back-to-back set against the Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets.

The upside is the Heat have two days off before next playing, when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

Butler has now missed 18 games this season. Beyond the two games missed with the ankle sprain, he has missed 10 in the NBA’s pandemic protocols, two with an inflamed right knee, two more with another ankle sprain and one due to a stomach illness.

The Heat went into Tuesday’s game 6-11 in Butler’s absence this season.

The absence came with Butler playing some of his best ball of the season, after missing significant time earlier in the season. Spoelstra said that likely is among the reasons why Butler has not been mentioned among candidates for postseason awards.

“Jimmy Butler, in my mind, has to be in that conversation, for MVP,” Spoelstra said. “I think his game is just continuing to grow. That’s as a winner, as a throwback player, a guy that really impacts the game on both ends of the court. He truly does. It’s not just talk.

“He has as much of an impact on the defensive side as he does on the offensive side.”

The Heat remained without sidelined guards Tyler Herro (foot) and Victor Oladipo (knee), but forward Andre Iguodala, who had been listed as questionable due to hip soreness, was cleared to play in Tuesday night’s game.