MIAMI — Jimmy Butler is back.
Butler injured his ankle late in Game 1 in the fourth quarter and played the final five minutes clearly hobbled. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Butler was getting treatment around the clock but wasn’t able to go for Game 2, a game the Knicks won to even the series.
Butler injured his right ankle with 5:05 to go in the Heat’s series-opening victory when Josh Hart inadvertently kicked the ankle as Butler rose up for a shot. Butler remained in the game until 23.6 seconds remained and the Miami victory was secured.
The Heat were forced in Game 2 to use their fourth starting lineup in seven playoff games. The team is already dealing with injuries to Tyler Herro (right hand fracture) and Victor Oladipo (torn left patellar tendon).
With three days off between Games 2 and 3, Butler was able to work to a spot where he was cleared to go. Including the playoffs, Miami has gone 9-10 without Butler in the lineup this season.
Once again, Butler has stepped his game up in the playoffs. After averaging 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists in the regular season while shooting 53.9% from the floor and 35.0% from three on 1.6 attempts a game, “Playoff Jimmy” is at 35.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists on 58.5% shooting while hitting 42.9% from deep on 4.7 attempts a game.
This story originally appeared on ESPN