After missing the second half of Game 3 with right knee inflammation, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Jimmy Butler intends to play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. The Miami Heat have listed him as questionable.
Some pointed to a Payton Pritchard foul midway through the second quarter in which the guard grabbed Butler’s right knee, forcing him to fall to the ground, as causing or exacerbating the inflammation. After the Heat’s gutsy Game 3 victory, Erik Spoelstra said that Butler didn’t have his “normal explosive burst.”
@miaheatbeat @5ReasonsSports is this the knee Jimmy is dealing with?— court corner (@courtcorner) May 22, 2022
ESPN talked about the Poole play on Morant for decades, but I haven’t seen any mention of Pritchard yanking at Jimmy’s knee. pic.twitter.com/feydGGs9ND
The Heat have also listed Tyler Herro as questionable for Monday night’s game with a groin strain. Herro struggled mightily in Game 3, shooting just 4-of-15 from the field and attempting some ill-advised shots.
Of course, Miami has already regained home-court advantage. All the pressure will be on the Celtics to avoid falling into a 3-1 series deficit. The Heat could be cautious and hold Butler or Herro out. But since Haynes said Butler intends to play, it’s likely he will play.
As for the other side, both Marcus Smart and Robert Williams are listed as questionable for Game 4. Smart missed Game 1 and suffered an ankle sprain in the third quarter of Game 3, but returned minutes later. Williams missed Game 3 with knee discomfort. Bam Adebayo and the rest of the Heat took advantage of Williams’ absence Saturday night.