One of the consequences of being in a bubble is that there are few things you can do that set off alarms or generate question marks. This was exactly what occurred on Sunday when star forward Jimmy Butler was not present in Sunday’s practice.
The team announced shortly thereafter that the player was out due to an “excused absence” and that the team was aware of. This all comes just hours before their important Eastern Conference clash against the defending champs.
Obviously there were going to be question marks when you keep in mind that the former Sixers and Bulls star maintained steadfast about not wearing his name or any of the approved messages from the NBA to support Black Lives Matter and the protest to bring forth social justice in the United States.
Butler Forced To Change Jersey
— x – Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) August 1, 2020
More Questions Than Answers
Where things became a bit more complicated was when teammate Jae Crowder mentioned that the team was going to “speak to him as soon as he was back from quarantine whatever he’s in”. This generated even more questions after that information was reported by beat writer Ira Windermann.
Butler was not seen after the practice and now Heat fans will have to wait with baited breath for the publishing of the injury report to see if he is available. More importantly, to see if Crowder’s comments had any other type of substance to them, especially knowing what this team dealt with prior to the season restart.
The Heat were one of many teams that saw their plans due to the pandemic. Derrick Jones Jr. initially away from the team due to a positive COVID-19 result and then Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn forced to delay their Disney arrivals due to positive coronavirus tests of their own.
The Upcoming Challenges
Butler was the co-leading scorer alongside Bam Adebayo with 22 points in their impressive return to action against the Denver Nuggets 125-105. That performance helped offer a great deal of confidence leading up to this week.
The Miami Heat have a very intense week this week as they face the top three teams in the Eastern conference in a span of four days, so it will be all hands on deck. For Erik Spoelstra’s men, they can this is a great way to prepare for the playoffs but they know that this can offer positive results going into the most crucial time of the season.
If there is one characteristic about this team that can offer some confidence in this stretch, it is that the Heat are very successful this season against two of those three teams. Miami has not lost to the Bucks or Raptors this season, but are winless against the Celtics.