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Jimmy Butler Won't Return to Heat vs. Celtics Game 3 Because of Knee Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 22, 2022

Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

Miami Heat star forward Jimmy Butler was ruled out for the remainder of Saturday night's Game 3 with knee inflammation, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Butler played 20 of 24 first-half minutes for the Heat, scoring eight points. But he was ruled out for the duration of the game at halftime. 

The Heat went on to win 109-103 to take a 2-1 series lead. After the game, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reported that Butler's knee injury was not considered serious and he could be available for Monday's Game 4.

It's been that kind of season for Butler, who most recently missed Miami's Game 5 97-94 series-clinching win against the Atlanta Hawks with knee right knee inflammation.

"The training staff just made the determination that he will not be available tonight," head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters at the time. "There's not [medical imaging] tests planned, or anything."

Butler, 32, also missed 25 games during the regular season, as a number of injuries—ranging from two separate ankle injuries to tailbone and toe issues—limited his time on the court. When healthy, he was excellent for the Heat, putting up 21.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 48.0 percent from the field but just 23.3 percent from three.

He's been even better in the playoffs, averaging 29.8 points per game.

Given that Kyle Lowry has struggled with injuries himself in this postseason, any absence from Butler is all the more concerning. While he's out, look for players like Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Victor Oladipo to take on a bigger role.

Oladipo came out with the starters to start the second half. 

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