Report: Jimmy Butler feared to have MCL injury, could be sidelined indefinitely

Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler was injured in Wednesday’s play-in game against the 76ers. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Miami Heat superstar forward Jimmy Butler is feared to have an MCL injury suffered during the first quarter of Wednesday’s play-in game, NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported Wednesday evening.

Here is the video of the injury:

Butler stayed in the game and ended up playing 40 minutes, even though he was noticeably gimpy. The injury progressively got worse, and throughout the fourth quarter, Butler was essentially a decoy and was hardly involved in the offense because of his limited mobility.

He finished with 19 points on 5-of-18 shooting and 2-of-6 from the 3-point lane, adding four rebounds, five assists and a game-high five steals–most coming pre-injury.

Butler’s effort and willingness to remain on the court despite the injury was admirable. But it, unfortunately, adds to the myriad of injuries that he–and this team–have suffered this season and throughout his Heat tenure at this time of year.

“It had me feeling that I couldn’t do too much,” Butler said after Wednesday’s game, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sentinel.

“I fell, he landed and my knee just didn’t do well, I guess,” Butler said, according to ESPN. “I don’t know. It’s not a good feeling, I can tell you that.

“It felt like I couldn’t do too much, which sucks with the timing of the game and everything. I hope that I’m fine. I hope that I wake up tomorrow and can still stick-and-move. Right now, I can’t stay that’s the case.”

At the time of this publishing, no MRI results have been revealed; that’s likely information we won’t know until Thursday morning, at the earliest.

Nevertheless, the Heat were without Terry Rozier and Erik Spoelstra did not play Duncan Robinson, who was made available after dealing with left facet syndrome. If Butler is unavailable to go Friday, it would be a huge blow, which goes without saying.


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The replay shows Jimmy travelled on the move when he hurt his knee. Watch his pivot foot. First it’s his left, then his right as his left foot moves forward about 2 inches. Refs are blind or just don’t care.

Reality Czech

No Butler, Rozier, J Rich against the Bulls. Steep mountain to climb, but it ain’t over til it’s over. Jaquez is playing really well of late. Bam will need to step up big time. Herro will need to be aggressive, but a hell of a lot more efficient. I’d prefer to see Highsmith start over Martin, but I wonder if Spo starts Duncan (yeah, I know, defense). Or maybe Delon?
All hands on deck. I am picking the Heat.


I think it’s time to move on from Jimmy Butler.
Very good player, however, not elite & not a true difference maker for a team.

Just my opinion.


I mean the guy is a beast. He is obviously one of the best playoff competitors and is a difference maker without question. However, his offense + supporting cast is not enough to get the ring. I agree that with his age and decline either he needs to go, or they need a major rebuild.


We are done. Injuries ruined our season. It’s time to start over. Maybe it’s the end of an era.


I keep Bam, Terry, JRich, JJJ, HH, and maybe, on a reasonable contract, Caleb. Time to start over and clean house, unless you want players who will always lose in crunch time. Get draft picks, only two way players, start over, move in a whole new direction. There is a reason there is no other team like us. Without Superstar Jimmy, our warts are showing. Sorry for my utter honesty.


I wrote this before I knew about Butler’s injury. I blamed him, Spo and Herro for the team’s second half collapse. I should have reserved my critical comments for Spo and Herro. One thing is very clear to me, Butler should have played fewer minutes, he played 40. Jaquez should have played more (he played 7th most at 22). With Herro ice cold, turning the ball over (5) and playing horrible defense, why didn’t Spo give Duncan a shot? He was playable and didn’t get one minute of playing time.

If Butler and Rozier are unable to play against Chicago, Spo should start Wright, Duncan, Jaquez, Jovic and Bam and have Herro, Martin, Highsmith and Love come off the bench. In a way, I would prefer the Heat lose and blame it on Butler’s injury than win and get humiliated by Boston in 4. Jus sayin… GO HEAT!!!

12 hours ago

Herro: 25 points on 9-27 shots +/- (-8)
Butler: 19 points on 5-18 shots (-1)
Bam: 10 points on 5-9 shots. 12 rebounds. (-8)
Martin: 5 points on 2-3 shots (-9)
Jovic: 5 points on 2-2 shots (-10)

Jaquez: 15 points on 6-11 shots (+8)
Love: 10 points on 3-5 shots (+11)
Highsmith: 9 points on 4-8 shots (+4)
Wright: 6 points on 2-7 shots (+8)

Herro and Butler (14-45 FGs and 6-20 3 PT) missed far too many shots. Bam, Martin and Jovic took far too few. Spo screwed up when he pulled the second unit players when they had been playing a very good game. Herro totally disrupted the tempo and let Philly back into the game. In addition to shooting 33.3% FGs and 28.6% 3PTs, he had 5 turnovers. Herro’s late heroics were too little…too late.

I would chalk that loss up to Spo, Butler and Herro.
Oh well. Onward and upward. Friday’s game against Chicago should be interesting. They looked pretty good tonight vs Atlanta.

heat for life

dame or donovan?both good possibilities.terry s gone or ty


I’m taking Donovan, he’s younger, and better defender. Also probably herro gone, so this might be his last playoffs with us. Hopefully he plays really well, so he could increase his value for the teams that want him.

Reality Czech

I like Mitchell and D Murray. The FA market is pretty slim this offseason, but Ingram would be good, and Siakam is possible.


I would love Ingram here, very talented player, and spo would unlock his defense abilities with that length. He would be our lead scorer and give us more of a scoring punch. A lineup of rozier, butler,Ingram,jovic, bam would be lethal. Siakam would be good too, but I think indy would pay him.


Ingram is always injured


True that.


His defense sucks! I would prefer a two-way player like Dejounte Murray. I think Butler, Herro and Martin should be gone this summer.

Reality Czech

Please stop with the ridiculous Lillard suggestion. No defense (which is a biggie for you), an over the hill player with 3 turnovers per game and shooting 35.4% 3p% (you say at least 40%), and an absolutely terrible contract. No thanks!

heat for life

he doesnt want to be there ship his ass down here youll see a better player

heat for life

dames a baller ty aint trade them for each other were better.


Dame is owed $171M over the next 3 years. Herro is owed $93M. Who pays the $78M difference?

Reality Czech

Why would you assume that?? He won’t be better, he’ll just be older. You said how happy you were that we never made that bad trade. But, as usual, any way the wind blows. I’d strongly prefer the Heat to go with youth and/or players in, or reaching, their prime.


Dame is old as well and cannot play defense. He is on the downward as well.

Max Pain

No doubt in my mind we win that game if Jimmy don’t injure his leg in the first half.

No Terry, no Duncan, Jimmy on one leg for the last 3 quarters and we lost by one point?

The rest of the EC is very fking lucky we’re so banged up.

It’s becoming apparent that year after year injuries are our toughest opponent not the rest of these teams in the EC.

Now it should be a cakewalk to the finals for those clowns in Boston. 


There is a reason butler sat out half the season. Players his age become more prone to injure and it takes longer to recover. That is the downside of having your *best* player in that age/condition. He was amazing in last years playoffs but again his body didn’t last and his teammates really over performed.


Jimmy is expected to miss several weeks, so he definitely ain’t playing, so first round exit here we come…but only if we could beat the bulls. Seems like Injuries always kill us year after year of the Jimmy Era.


It’s official. He gone. Welp. This is why you avoid extra games at all costs. Oubre is a tool. That attempt at a block was sloppy and it cost Jimmy. That karma will come back to Philly, no doubt about it.

Well, it’s Niko time 😛


Ikr, oubre is douche, tf his sloppy attempt was unnecessary flailing in the air. He learned to flop from Lowry. Time for the young bucks to carry us .


When you seek out contact on literally every jump shot, this was bound to happen. If he didn’t pump fake and wait till Oubre was in the air, this doesn’t happen. Just shoot the layup and he’s fine.

Alaska Emily

Baloney. If he didn’t pump fake on that shot, Oubre would have blocked the shot. There are times when getting the defender in the air is for the purpose of drawing a foul, but here it was very clearly for the purpose of preventing a block. There is no excuse for Oubre kicking Jimmy’s leg out from under him.

heat for life

if jimmy had his legs theres no pump fake.just go up and score.



Reality Czech

Pump fakes can be very effective for players at any age in any condition. Dwyane Wade built a hof career in part because he had pump fakes down to a science.


Agreed. Bating fouls brings the risk.

Reality Czech

Yes, that’s true, but there are any number of basketball moves that bring risk; high flying dunks, taking a charge, blocking a shot.


Butler will play hurt or not. He hasn’t been 100% the whole year. He will take a few shots and likely be more of a decoy, help facilitate, etc. It is Butler’s decision ultimately and he will choose to play even if he is on 1 leg.

Reality Czech

I don’t see him playing anytime soon. As noted below, if it is an mcl sprain or worse, he may miss at least a week or 2.


I don’t see Jimmy playing for Miami again. If he stays he will want a huge/maybe max extension this summer to stay. If he doesn’t get it, he will opt out and be a free agent after 24-25. Same with Martin, who can opt out this summer and become a free agent. Herro should be gone. He’s hot and cold and although he showed progress on defense to start the season…he has regressed. He never developed into the player I thought he had the potential to be (Devin Booket Lite).

What Riley has to work with this summer are: Bam, Rozier, Jovic, Jaquez, Bryant, 2024 draft (15th pick), Martin, Love and Richardson (if they opt in), Orlando (if they choose to renew option), Highsmith (who is a free agent), returning G Leaguers and whatever trade value they can get for Butler and Herro.

Sounds to me like a solid core to begin a rebuild/re-tooling process with.

Reality Czech


heat for life

memo to maxy bam joel could hardly move,oubre won them that game he kind of stuck his hip out to make contact with our ex ss borderline dirty play.time to turn to our hockey team

heat for life

butlers best plays were those steals.otherwise very mediocre days are is our season.bam a max player lol.ty a team playerlol.thanks pat nice job enjoy your cruising with mickey


Jesse Morse MD analysis:

Right knee injury

Possibilities include:

1. MCL sprain
2. Medial Meniscus injury
3. Both

Shams is commenting that his MCL may be injured, but let’s see what the MRI shows.

Butler had his knee landed on by a Sixers player (see photo), and the angle of Butler’s leg/knee plus the weight of the opposing player likely stressed the inside of Butler’s leg.

The MCL is the ligament that runs north to south on the inside of the knee, protecting the knee from collapsing inward. The deep part of the MCL fibers actually attached to the medial meniscus.

Traditionally, the proximal aspect of the MCL has a poor blood supply, and that’s usually where it sprains most commonly. The MCL is the most commonly injured ligament in the knee, and sprains on average take over 20 days to return to play in the NBA, depending on the severity.

There are three grades of severity of MCL sprains.

Grade 1 is a mild sprain, and would likely keep him out about 10-14 days.

Grade 2 is a moderate sprain, because the meniscus is involved, and these usually take closer to 4-6 weeks.

Grade 3 is a severe sprain and usually the player has trouble walking and the knee is so unstable that surgery is mandatory.

The issue with the MCL is that if you return too quickly from an injury to one, you will put the entire integrity of both the ACL and the meniscus at risk. The MCL is a protective mechanism of these two. Having Butler return too quickly is very risky as a result.

Regardless of when he returns, I expect him to wear a knee sleeve, possibly with a metal reinforcement on the inside.

Surgically there’s nothing that Butler could do to get him to return within the next week. Even Cell therapy (‘stem cells’) or PRP would struggle to improve the tissue fast enough to allow him to play safely.

Timing is less than ideal as there is a chance he could miss the entire first round of the NBA playoffs.

Best case scenario, the MRI shows that the MCL is only a grade one minor sprain, and there is no injury to the meniscus or the ACL. This may allow him to return sometime in the first round of the playoffs, but his minutes would likely be limited and he would be severely impacted by the injury.

Deadsori(Vincent Quitoriano)

Colby white is going to be a problem. Bam should step up and he is usually confident against vucevic in their match up. And wouldn’t it be too much too ask for somebody carry the offensive load? ,I was having flashback of the Herro that was at the start of the season,the volume shooter one. And this goes to show that Herro’s game is an SG. We are also going to need somebody to provide at least a portion of Butler’s contribution on both side of the floor.

I was pissed that Delon didnt get more minutes in that game, his defense and playmaking could have change the tide. I had to burn my frustration in my workout before work


The dream is over without Jimmy. Injuries dogged us all year. It’s been the never ending story.

heat for life

go cats they got good shot to win it all

heat for life

w/o jim dont think we beat bulls.cobe white is what i want tyler to be.dudes got game.


this is just gettin worse…..for the Celtics! now we’ll beat them without jimmy


Lol yeah! But lets get over the Bulls who’s leading big going in the 4th

heat for life

think he was being sarcastic manila.w/o jim wouldnt beat atlanta

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