The Heat have ruled out Jimmy Butler for Sunday afternoon’s contest with the Celtics, citing personal reasons. A statement issued by agent Bernie Lee, via the team (Twitter link), provides more details on Butler’s situation.
“Jimmy Butler has been granted a leave of absence as he deals with the death of a family member,” Lee said. “Jimmy and his family ask for privacy at this point in time as they navigate this loss. Updates will be given when appropriate.”
It’s unclear when Butler will rejoin the Heat or how many games he’ll miss during his leave of absence.
After today’s game at home, the team will travel to face two more Eastern rivals before the All-Star break, visiting Milwaukee on Tuesday and Philadelphia on Wednesday. Following the All-Star break, the Heat’s schedule resumes with a four-game Western Conference road trip that begins February 23 in New Orleans.
Butler has averaged 21.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 33.9 minutes per night across 37 games for the Heat so far this season, posting an outstanding .500/.440/.869 shooting line. Miami has had an up-and-down season, but has bounced back from a seven-game losing streak in January to win four of its past five contests. The club currently ranks eighth in the East at 28-24.
With Butler unavailable, the Heat figure to lean more heavily on Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Terry Rozier for scoring, with forwards like Caleb Martin, Jaime Jaquez, Haywood Highsmith, and Duncan Robinson among the candidates for increased minutes.