Why is Jimmy Butler not playing tonight against Boston Celtics? Closer look at 6-time All-Star's Game 4 absence (April 29)

NBA: Playoffs-Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers
Why is Jimmy Butler not playing tonight against Boston Celtics? Closer look at Game 4 absence

Jimmy Butler will not play in Game 4 of the Miami Heat's 2024 NBA Playoffs first-round series against the Boston Celtics. That marks his fifth straight absence for Miami. Butler won't play on Monday night, as he's recovering from an MCL sprain in his right knee. He suffered that injury in the Heat's 105-104 play-in tournament loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Apr. 17.

Butler missed the following play-in tournament elimination game against the Chicago Bulls, which the Heat won 112-91. He has not participated in the series against the Celtics, but Miami is still alive after three games, trailing 2-1.

What happened to Jimmy Butler?

Butler was diagnosed with an MCL sprain after a contact injury during the Heat-Sixers game on Apr. 17. The incident occurred in the first quarter when Butler broke out in transition for a wide-open layup.

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However, Butler held back his shot for an and-one opportunity as Kelly Oubre Jr. trailed behind. That proved a brutal choice, as Butler's pump-fake ended with Oubre landing on the Heat star's right knee.

Butler played through an MCL sprain for the rest of the contest. The Heat announced then that Butler would miss several weeks.

Jimmy Butler believes Heat can do the unthinkable without him vs. Celtics

The NBA world was quick to count the Miami Heat out despite their success against the Boston Celtics in recent years after Jimmy Butler's injury. The Celtics came into the playoffs behind a 64-win season. Over the past couple of seasons, Boston's "this is our year" belief has been shattered, but there was a different feeling around the team.

The Celtics seemed unbeatable for most of the year after upgrading their core with Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis' additions. The Celtics fundamentally had the best two-way lineup in the NBA, with the best defensive starting lineup, which was also the top-rated offense in the league.

Many believe that the Heat's best shot at causing an upset as an eight seed for the second consecutive year hinged on Jimmy Butler's health and form. Without Butler, that belief flamed out, but the All-Star remains confident in the team.

Following the Heat's shocking 111-101 road win in Game 2, Butler was rattled about the national media's attention on the Celtics despite Miami coming out on top. He also said that the Heat believe they can make the unprecedented run even if they remain the underwhelming underdogs.

Butler also predicted the Heat would go up 2-1, but that wasn't the case, as Boston bounced back in Game 3 at Kaseya Center with a 104-84 win.

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