Heat Coach Reveals Severity of Jimmy Butler’s Eye Injury


Getty

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat reacts after a potential head injury in the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on May 11, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.

While it was amazing to see the Miami Heat clinch their spot in the playoffs with a 129-121 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night, it was incredibly scary when team leader Jimmy Butler left the game after taking a blow to the head from a collision with Marcus Smart.

Butler, who’s averaging 21.6 points and seven rebounds per game this season, had Heat fans around the nation holding their breath when he exited the game following a rebound scuffle with only 42.3 seconds left in the first half. Concern only grew when Butler never returned to the court for the second half.

The latest Heat news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Heat newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Heat!

If Butler suffered a concussion, NBA protocols could possibly keep Butler out indefinitely. During the postgame conference, Heat’s head Erik Spoelstra spoke about the severity of the 31-year-old’s eye injury and his possible concussion.

“He was warming up with a ball in the locker room to start the fourth quarter, gearing up, getting ready to play,” Spoelstra said. “But I thought it was really good for our team to go finish the game.”

It’s great news to hear that Butler’s blurry vision subsided quickly and felt ready to jump back in the game. But when Spoelstra was asked about whether or not Butler would need to be held out due to NBA concussion protocol, “Not that I know of,” Coach Spo said. “But I’ll find out.”


The Heat Turned Up During the Second Half to Secure the Win Without Butler

Typically, when a team’s leader leaves a game unexpectedly, especially one that is so crucial for the team’s playoff positioning, the rest of the team can lose focus, confidence, and the lead.

However, with Butler out, All-Star Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, and veteran Goran Dragic stepped up big time. Both Adebayo and Robinson scored 22 points, while Dragic showed up and scored 14 points in the fourth quarter.

“Bam really anchored it in a lot of ways the Jimmy normally does,” Spoelstra said. “The ball was going through him, to start whatever action we were going to. And then other guys stepped up.”

Robinson also gave credit to Adebayo. “He’s really good at kind of picking his spots, and also knowing when it’s time for him to be who he is, be an All-Star, dominate the game offensively,” Heat’s sharpshooter said. “And I think you saw that tonight.”

“We rely on Jimmy to do a lot,” Robinson continued. “At the beginning, it felt like a boost, us rally around him, understanding that he wanted to do and couldn’t. So, for us, it was how can we pick up our brother who can’t play? So we were just going to find a way.”

Tyler Herro was no slouch either. After going scoreless in the first half, Herro scored 24 points, shooting 10 of 15 from the field, 4 of 7 on threes.

READ NEXT: Miami Heat Is ‘Premiere Destination’ for NBA’s 2021 Free Agents: B/R