Jimmy Butler Won't Play in Heat vs. Celtics Game Because of Ankle Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 4, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 08: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat dribbles against the Washington Wizards in the first half at Capital One Arena on March 08, 2020 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Miami Heat guard/forward Jimmy Butler will miss Tuesday's game against the Boston Celtics because of right ankle soreness. 

Butler, 30, has averaged 20.2 points on 45.6 percent shooting, 6.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists in his first season with the Heat.

All has gone well for Butler in Miami, who has dramatically improved after missing the playoffs with a 39-43 record last season. The Heat easily clinched a playoff berth this season after amassing a 41-24 record before the season was suspended for four-and-a-half months due to the COVID-19 pandemic from March 11 through July 30.

Butler and teammate Bam Adebayo have been the catalysts for that success. The two players lead the charge on both ends of the floor for a Heat team that ranks eighth in the league in net rating, per NBA.com.

The Heat will have to traverse through Tuesday without Butler, however. Miami did play 11 games sans Butler prior to the NBA's suspension, but the team went just 5-6 in his absence.

Solomon Hill got the start for Butler when he last missed time on March 11 in a 109-98 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala, who also landed in Miami in the same trade, should get more court time in Butler's absence. 

Ultimately, the Heat can't afford to lose Butler, who is the team's leading scorer and arguably its most valuable player. They can recoup some of the scoring, rebounding and defensive skills in the aggregate with players who will take some of his minutes, but the five-time All-Star's talent is too much to replace.