MIAMI — Heat star Jimmy Butler was ruled out of Game 5 of Miami’s first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks because of right knee inflammation, the team announced Tuesday afternoon about three hours before tipoff.
“The training staff just made the determination that he will not be available tonight,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said during his pregame news conference. “There’s not [medical imaging] tests planned, or anything.”
Butler woke up Tuesday feeling soreness in the knee and is considered day-to-day moving forward, a team source told ESPN. Spoelstra said the team was unaware if there was a specific cause of the injury in Game 4, or if it was the result of general wear and tear.
Butler had been dominant in the series thus far, averaging 30.5 points — second most in the postseason behind only Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets — on 54.3% shooting (43.8% from 3), 7.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.8 steals as Miami built a 3-1 lead over the Hawks.
Miami was also without Kyle Lowry, who has yet to return from a left hamstring strain suffered in Game 3.
The Heat handled the Hawks 110-86 in Game 4 with backup point guard Gabe Vincent posting 11 points and four assists in Lowry’s place.
Miami started former All-Star Victor Oladipo — who made his series debut with 6 points and 8 rebounds in Game 4 — in Butler’s place Tuesday night, alongside Vincent, Max Strus, P.J. Tucker and Bam Adebayo.
Miami went 15-10 in the regular season without Butler and have gone 13-7, including Game 4 in Atlanta, without Lowry.
The Heat played only three games without the both of them, going 1-2.
“We’re not wrapping our mind around trying to win for weeks [without them],” Spoelstra said. “We’re wrapping our mind around just winning one game and we’ve had a lot of different variations of our rotation that’s given our team confidence to be able to handle the things that sometimes are unpredictable. And we’ve gained a lot of confidence to be able to figure out ways to win, regardless of who is playing.”
Hawks coach Nate McMillan said that Atlanta could change its rotation to match how the Heat make up for Butler’s presence.
“We have to make some adjustments with [Butler] out of the lineup,” McMillan said during his pregame news conference. “He does a lot for them.”
Andscape’s Marc J. Spears contributed to this report.