Coach Erik Spoelstra about playing without Jimmy Butler: ‘We will do this the hard way’

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Bad news arrived at the South Beach camp when Jimmy Butler‘s results came in. Not only is the guard out for what could potentially be their final game of the season against Chicago this Friday, but he is set to miss several weeks due to a right knee injury he suffered in their Play-in contest against the Sixers this Wednesday. 

Yesterday’s MRI exam showed that the player sprained this MCL ligament, an injury that commonly needs at least a full month to recover. In other words, if Miami was to qualify for the playoffs, it is very probable that the Heat won’t be able to use their main star during their Round 1 series against NBA-best Boston.

“We will do this the hard way,” coach Erik Spoelstra said on Wednesday night after losing to Philadelphia by one point and losing Butler to injury. “That has to be the path right now.”

Even though Jimmy stayed in the game, his mobility only seemed to get worse throughout the night. His coach revealed that the veteran’s leg was getting stiffer by the minute and this affected his shooting efficiency, as he only scored 3 for 14 in the remainder of the contest.

“I thought the adrenaline would kick back in and I’d be able to move,” the point guard shared postgame. “And it just wasn’t the case. I wasn’t able to do anything on either side of the ball and I think I hurt us more than I helped us, actually.”

As Miami is also without starting guard Terry Rozier for the past couple of weeks, and Duncan Robinson missing out on 10 of their last 15 games, big man Bam Adebayo said the team must endure this challenge without them.

“We’ve had experience with that,” the Heat center said about the current injury situation in their camp. “The biggest thing for us is to rally around each other and get the W.”

Chicago star Alex Caruso remains questionable for game against Heat due to ankle issues

The Bulls, on the other hand, also have their fair share of injury problems, as guard Alex Caruso suffered a “significant” left ankle sprain during the third quarter of Wednesday night’s 131-116 win over the Hawks in the Play-in tournament.

“It was the same one I’d been dealing with the last couple weeks of the season that we’d been managing and figuring out,” the player said of his ankle issues. “I tried to tape it up, take some more time when I got out there and I was kind of ineffective, so it was probably better to have some of those guys finish the game. And they did a great job.”

The Texas A&M product is confident that his injury isn’t as serious as he first thought, and would be willing to play in Friday’s matchup against the Heat despite not being 100%.

“I do until I can’t,” Alex said about the possibilities of competing in this do-or-die contest. “We’ll see how it goes the next couple days, but my mindset would be to play until my body tells me I can’t.”