Jimmy Butler was in the Miami Heat starting lineup for Friday’s Christmas Day game against the New Orleans Pelicans at AmericanAirlines Arena, after previous being listed as questionable due to a sprained right ankle.
Butler twisted the ankle in Wednesday night’s loss to the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center, playing through the injury and closing with 19 points, seven assists and a career-high seven steals in a team-high 35:42 of action.
Following that season-opening loss, when asked about the Magic limiting his ability to get to the rim, Butler said, “Yeah, they stepped on my ankle. That’s what they did. So I couldn’t move the way that I wanted to. It’s not an excuse. But I feel like I can get into the paint at will.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra did not mention Butler’s injury during his Thursday briefing, when he noted, “Today was very light. It was a film session and more of a walkthrough, so everybody was able to participate in the that.”
Before Friday’s game, Spoelstra said of Butler, “He’s ready to go.”
Butler missed the first three games of last season for the birth of his daughter, with the Heat going 2-1 in those games.
Rounding out Friday’s starting lineup were Bam Adebayo, Meyers Leonard, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson.
The Heat now have three days off before back-to-back home games Tuesday and Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks.