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Jimmy Butler Out for Heat vs. Hawks with Knee Injury as Tyler Herro Returns

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2021

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler pushes the ball up the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler was ruled out of Sunday's matchup versus the Atlanta Hawks with a knee injury, the team announced.

The Heat noted Tyler Herro will be available to play against the Hawks after missing the last three games.

Butler was limited to begin the season because of a sprained ankle he suffered in the Heat's opener against the Orlando Magic. The five-time All-Star tried to play in the next game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas but was limited to 2-of-7 shooting in 16 minutes.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra held Butler out of the lineup for the next two games. Their first game without him was a 144-97 blowout loss to the Bucks on Dec. 29. He later sat out 10 straight games from Jan. 12-Jan. 30 due to COVID-19 protocols.

The reigning Eastern Conference champions are off to an erratic start so far in 2020-21. Their offense ranks in the bottom 10 in rating and points per game (106.9).

It's still early enough that the Heat don't have to try rushing Butler back before he's completely healthy. No team in the Southeast Division has a winning record at this point in the season.

Spoelstra will likely turn to Maurice Harkless in his starting lineup until Butler can return. Herro and Duncan Robinson will run the offense for the time being.

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