Miami Heat's Erik Spoelstra On Jimmy Butler Injury: "I Really Feel For Him"

Apr 17, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) picks up a loose ball - Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) picks up a loose ball - Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra refused to make excuses.

When the Heat suit up to face the Chicago Bulls tonight in the Play-In Tournament, they will do so without two of their top players. Rozier is out because of neck spasms while Butler is sidelined after spraining his knee in Wednesday's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

"I really feel for him [Butler], I feel for Terry," Spoelstra said. "They're competitors at heart and their souls. They put a lot into the season to be here for this time. That's just sometimes how it goes. You can't explain things. It was unfortunate." 

Butler's absence is more damaging. He has been the Heat's best player since the 2019 season. They have made two NBA Finals appearances under Butler and three conference finals. Butler has been in and out of the lineup this season because of injuries and maintenance purposes.

But this happened at the worst possible time.

The Heat need to win against the Bulls to advance to the Eastern Conference playoffs. The winner faces the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round. Even if the Heat make it, they will still likely face the Celtics without Butler. He is expected to miss multiple weeks, meaning he could return for the second round at best.

"I've seen Jimmy make that play a million times, shot fakes and nothing happened from it," Spoelstra said. "It's tough. I really just commend him and admire him just trying to gut it out in the second half even though he was far from 100 percent."


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Shandel Richardson

SHANDEL RICHARDSON