The Miami Heat picked up an impressive and convincing win on Saturday in their seeding round opener, beating the Denver Nuggets 125-105 with six players in double figures.
They were led by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, who had 22 points each, with Kelly Olynyk coming up big off the bench with 20 points in the win. It was a strong start to their restart and seemed to indicate that they were not battling as much rust as some teams, as they looked crisp on both ends in their first real game in four months.
Their next two games are even more important, as they face a Raptors team that dusted the Lakers on Saturday and then the Celtics, who are currently just 1.5 games up on Miami for the third spot in the East. However, on Sunday, Butler was absent from practice for an “excused absence,” with Erik Spoelstra not elaborating further on what exactly is going on with the star swingman.
Erik Spoelstra declines to comment further, nor offer update on Butler's status for Monday afternoon vs. Raptors. https://t.co/mh6kNCQue0
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) August 2, 2020
Him still being in the bubble hopefully means he just got a deserved day off, but Jae Crowder’s comments on Butler’s absence from practice raised some eyebrows.
Butler’s status for Monday’s tilt with Toronto is currently unknown, as the Heat declined to speak on that, but his absence would certainly be notable given how crucial he is to this team and their success on both ends. Hopefully all is well with Butler, who spoke after Saturday’s game about being forced to change from his preferred blank jersey right at tipoff by the league, who declined his request to make such a statement with his uniform.
We will learn more about Butler’s status for Monday’s game fairly soon, as the league has asked teams to put out injury reports a day ahead of time, and hopefully it’s just something like a missed test (like what kept Kristaps Porzingis and Paul Millsap out of scrimmages earlier in the bubble).
UPDATE: While there’s still no official word on Butler’s absence from practice, he isn’t on the Heat injury report for Monday and is expected to play.
The current expectation, sources tell @NYTSports, is that Jimmy Butler will be available Monday for Miami's game against Toronto
Butler did not practice Sunday with the Heat, but they did not list him on their injury report tonight report in advance of the Toronto game
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 2, 2020