Butler, 32, played the entire first quarter but appeared to be limping on the sidelines before exiting the game. The five-time All-Star headed to the locker and did not return for the entire second half.
Shortly after half-time was called, the Heat revealed an update on Butler, announcing that he suffered a right ankle sprain and would not return to the game.
It’s obviously a huge blow to the Heat’s roster, as Butler, who’s very much in the conversation to be this season’s MVP, is a key proponent of Miami’s offense. During the Heat’s frustrating 113-96 loss against the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, Butler was the lone bright spot on the team, drilling 31 points at the Ball Arena.
Before leaving the game, Butler tallied seven points on 1-of-3 shooting from the field and 5-of-5 shooting from the foul line, one assist, and two steals.
Unfortunately, this is the first night of the Heat’s back-to-back games in Los Angeles. They take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Numerous Other Players Stepped In to Replace Butler, Including Udonis Haslem (!)
Following Butler’s exit, Heat’s OG Udonis Haslem stepped onto the court, a shocking decision since he rarely steps in for an injured player.
The 41-year-old veteran, who’s the oldest active player in the NBA, played more during the first half of the game on Wednesday night than he did in all of last season.
It was also the third game since 2019 that Haslem recorded minutes in the first half, per Miami Herald‘s Anthony Chiang.
Also getting a chance to show his stuff, Omer Yurtseven, who got his first minutes on the court since his starring role in the Heat’s summer league.
Keeping the game competitive, guard Tyler Herro, who’s breathing life into the Heat’s offense. During the first half, the young boy wonder scored 18 points.
Heat are Looking to Turn Things Around Following the Drama of the Nuggets Game
Markieff Morris was ruled out from Wednesday night’s tilt, as he’s recovering from the violent hit from Nuggets’ star Nikola Jokic. While emotions were running high following the altercation, the team is focused on moving on.
“It’s one of those situations, man, we’re grown men. Things happen,” forward P.J. Tucker said, per Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman. “The team is going to stick behind their brothers, fight for each other as the Denver players did for their player. It’s just how it is. It’s part of the league. Everybody is going to be together, so those things happen.”
Haslem said it was “weird for me to understand” having analysts like Shaquille O’Neil, a former Heat star, blame Morris for the incident. I’m like, ‘I grew up with you guys, man. You guys would have never cosigned me hitting somebody in the back. Now you’re saying that’s OK?’ I don’t understand that.”
However, the OG also believes it’s time to move on. “A couple of days later, we all want what’s best for everybody. I don’t think Jokic is a bad guy. I actually love him as a basketball player and I love him as a person. I think he’s a really good guy.
“I think emotions just got the best of everybody… I wish it wouldn’t have gone down the way it went down. But I don’t think he is a bad guy, nor do I think he’s a dirty player.”