Jimmy Butler listed as questionable by Heat for Christmas Day vs. Pelicans with ankle sprain

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel

The Miami Heat are listing Jimmy Butler as questionable for Friday’s nationally televised Christmas Day noon game against the New Orleans Pelicans at AmericanAirlines Arena, 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.”

The Heat also are listing two-way guard Gabe Vincent as questionable. Vincent is recovering from an offseason knee scope.

The Pelicans are listing Wenyen Gabriel and Will Magnay as out.

If Butler is unable to play, it likely would elevate two-way guard Max Strus to the active roster. Strus was inactive Wednesday in Orlando.

Butler missed the first three games of last season for the birth of his daughter, with the Heat going 2-1 in those games.