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Miami Heat rookie Da'Sean Butler talks with Hot Hot Hoops

It’s already been more than an hour since practice was supposed to wrap up for the Miami Heat at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Coach Erik Spoelstra has most of his players run an offensive drill designed to get the players familiar with each other’s positioning as they swing the ball around. From the far corner Dwyane Wade walks around slowly and lofts a few shots towards an unused basket without jumping. Another injured Heat player is even further away from the action. University of West Virginia star and 2010 Heat second round pick Da’Sean Butler does little but sit in a folding chair situated almost by the exit doors as he silently studies practice while cradling a basketball. His NBA dream is as close as it’s ever been to coming to fruition, yet he’s still not recovered from a nasty ACL injury and isn’t even close to joining his teammates on the court. Getting used to the NBA game and the subsequent lifestyle in a new city is already a daunting task for any healthy rookie but Butler can only look on while the other young Heat players like Dexter Pittman and Patrick Beverley can actually put what they’re hearing from the coaching staff to use. As Spoelstra finally wraps up the final drill and heads to the side of the court to conduct his customary media session, Butler was gracious enough to spend a few minutes talking to Hot Hot Hoops about his journey and his eventual return to the court as a member of the Heat. What’s the latest news on your injury? How far have you progressed? Honestly, I’ve come a long way. I’m doing a lot of things I was not able to do probably a month or so ago. So everything is going really well. As far as when I’m coming back then that’s something I don’t know. That’s between the doctors and the trainers. They’ve been meeting a lot so hopefully we’ll see some progress sooner or later. It’s just a matter of time and waiting my turn (laughs). About that, I see you off to the side sitting there and looking on as the other players do their thing. What goes through your mind? Do you feel left out and are you taking advantage to watch and absorb everything? I just think it’s the time for me to watch and learn as far as visually seeing what’s going on. Obviously, it’s a little different for me not being out there and learning that way but this is another way for me to pick up on things. Using my mind a little bit as opposed to me just using my body and being out there and just doing whatever. Do you feel like you have a chip on your shoulder because so many teams passed you over in the draft because of the injury or do you simply understand why teams didn’t draft you and move on? At the end of the day it’s just business and everybody made their choices so I can’t be mad about that. It’s life. Do you think it might have been a blessing in disguise that you fell to the Heat? Yeah. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be around these great players and learn from so many of them regardless of what happens. I would never be in the gym with these men so this has been a great summer and throughout training camp and just learning from them and seeing what to do and not to do. What kind of role do you see yourself in when you do join the Heat on the floor? In college you were a primary scorer but here you could be instant offense off the bench. Whatever the coach and the team needs. That’s pretty much what I’ll do. I wouldn’t expect to be coming out and just score a ridiculous amount of points because we have a lot of guys who can do that already. Have you gotten any advice from other NBA players who have had this type of injury? Tons. Yes, most definitely. I’m talking to Alonzo Mourning and guys around here. Even small conversations with a couple of guys that I knew that it happened to them as well or they knew players that have had it. I talked to a couple of guys from the Pistons the other day who I know and they were just wishing me well and things like that. Is there a chance your game might change a bit coming back from the injury and being tentative with the knee or do you think that whenever you’re ready to go you won’t think about it and just play? I have no idea. When the time comes it will come and however I react at that point is how I’ll react so honestly I couldn’t even tell you. Some people say they just go straight in and some people say it takes a little while for them so we’ll see which groove I fall into.