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Will injuries cost Jimmy Butler an All-Star selection?

After Butler, Tyler Herro has the next best case for an All-Star selection.

Miami Heat v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Jimmy Butler twisted his right ankle in the third quarter of the Miami Heat’s loss to the Golden State Warriors Monday night. Just last week, in Miami’s Dec. 28 win over the Washington Wizards, Butler also rolled his right ankle.

Butler has dealt with nagging injuries since joining the Miami Heat in 2019. Just earlier this season, he injured his tailbone in a Nov. 27 win over the Chicago Bulls. He then re-aggravated his tailbone in Miami’s Dec. 6 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Fortunately, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald said that “there’s optimism” this sprain won’t keep Butler out for too long. But this latest injury could deprive him of an All-Star selection.

Last season, Butler did not make the All-Star team — an early-season 10-game absence due to COVID and Miami’s 18-18 record at the All-Star break didn’t work in his favor. And fair or not, All-Star appearances become a barometer to compare the best players. All-Star and All-NBA selections are statements of recognition that someone is one of the best players in the NBA for that season. Players who amass multiple selections separate themselves from the ones who don’t.

Playing in the East as a front-court player, Butler won’t beat Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo for the starting spots. Butler’s injuries — he’s played in just 23 games thus far — could ding him among the coaches.

As the holder of the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference, the Heat should have a representative at the All-Star Game. Tyler Herro figures to be the next Miami player with the best case. Kyle Lowry hasn’t put up the numbers Herro has, and Bam Adebayo has missed even more time than Butler. But Trae Young, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine all have great cases themselves.

Could Miami go into All-Star weekend with a solid record but without a single representative in the All-Star Game? It’s possible. But then again, the current wave of COVID cases could lead to the naming of multiple replacement All-Stars.