Heat's Butler Out For Game 5


Jimmy Butler has been a man possessed thus far in the NBA playoffs, but if the Miami Heat plan on wrapping up their first-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks with a Game 5 win tonight, they'll have to do so without him. The Athletic's Shams Charania has reported that Butler will be absent from tonight's lineup due to right knee inflammation.

Butler has yet to labor or show any signs of injury so far this series, leading many to believe the injury designation can be chalked up to Miami being extra precocious with their star player. We've already seen a laundry list of big name players succumb to injuries in this year's playoffs, and it the Heat clearly do not want to add to that at Butler's expense.

In Miami's four playoff games thus far, Butler has been unconscious, averaging a staggering 30 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals per game, carrying the Heat to a 3-1 lead of Atlanta entering game 5. With Kyle Lowry already ruled out due to a hamstring injury, Miami's depth will be put to the test, as they will rely heavily on the likes of Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent to make up Lowry and Butler's scoring.

Clearly, this is a Heat team that doesn't appear to be afraid of what they have seen from Atlanta so far, as it has already been reported that Butler and Lowry's status' are dependent on if there will even be another game in the series. 

 In a win-or-go-home scenario for Atlanta, they couldn't have asked for a better matchup entering Game 5. With Miami missing two of their starters, there will be absolutely no excuses for the Hawks if the series ends tonight. 

Photo Credit: © Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports