Jimmy Butler Ruled Out for Heat vs Clippers; Shoulder Injury Diagnosed as Strain

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2020

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Miami, Fla. Heat win 106-100. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler left Wednesday's game at the Los Angeles Clippers with a sprained shoulder in the second half. The team announced he would not return. 

Miami HEAT @MiamiHEAT

#MIAvsLAC INJURY UPDATE: Jimmy Butler exited tonight's game vs the Clippers with a strained right shoulder and will not return.

Anthony Chiang @Anthony_Chiang

Erik Spoelstra said there was no immediate update on Jimmy Butler’s shoulder injury. But he did mention that an MRI was possible.

After the game, Butler told reporters he hopes the injury "ain't nothin' major" and noted his shoulder "just went the wrong way." 

Butler has an extensive injury history, giving the Heat reason to be concerned about this latest issue. The four-time All-Star has only reached the 70-game threshold once since the 2013-14 season. 

In his first season with the Heat, Butler has missed six games thus far. The 30-year-old gave the team a scare on Jan. 24 when he left a 122-117 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in the fourth quarter when he tweaked his ankle trying to guard Kawhi Leonard. 

Miami (34-16) has relied on Butler to lead the way this season and he's been an integral part of the team's outstanding performance thus far. He paces the Heat with 20.7 points and 6.2 assists and 6.8 rebounds per game. 

Even though the loss of Butler leaves a significant void in Miami's lineup, head coach Erik Spoelstra has a deep pool of talent available to keep the team playing well. The Heat have six players who average at least 10 points per game after trading Justice Winslow to Memphis as part of the Andre Iguodala deal. Kendrick Nunn, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic will run things on both ends of the court. 

Tyler Herro will take over as the primary shooting guard until Butler is able to return.