Jimmy Butler Leaves Game 3 Due To Knee Inflammation

10:14pm: Butler’s injury isn’t serious and there’s a “strong possibility” he’ll be ready for Monday’s Game 4, a source tells Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The Heat now hold a 2-1 series lead.

9:08pm: Heat forward Jimmy Butler didn’t return to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals after halftime because of inflammation in his right knee, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Butler played nearly 20 minutes in the first half with eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. He helped Miami build a 15-point lead at halftime as the team tries to bounce back from a lopsided loss in Game 2. Victor Oladipo started the second half in Butler’s place.

Butler has been the Heat’s leading scorer throughout the playoffs, averaging 29.8 PPG through 12 games, more than double anyone else on the team. He missed Game 5 of the first-round series against Atlanta with the same issue and has been dealing with discomfort in the knee throughout the postseason.

The Celtics had a health scare of their own as Marcus Smart was helped to the locker room with an ankle injury shortly after the second half began, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Smart suffered a sprain but will try to play through it, a source tells Weiss (Twitter link).

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