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Heat’s Jimmy Butler in jeopardy of missing time

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler had a rough Christmas. As the All-Star faced off against the New Orleans Pelicans for a primetime Christmas matchup, Butler was forced the leave the game early as he suffered an ankle injury.

Although it didn’t look too serious, the Heat never allowed Butler to return back to the floor as Miami was taking care of business. His ankle injury seemed minor at first, but at this point, Butler could end up missing some time moving forward, beginning on Tuesday.

The Heat will take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night. According to Miami’s head coach Erik Spoelstra, the Heat are listing Butler as doubtful, meaning he has less than a 50-percent chance of playing.

Should Miami be concerned? Of course, at least a little bit of worry here is warranted. While Butler’s injury doesn’t seem significant enough to keep him out long-term, losing the face of the team for several games is never an ideal scenario for any team.

But it is early — and teams should take their time with star players this year. While the 2020-2021 season is shortened, a lack of a real offseason indicates that teams should ease into this year and shouldn’t rush players back to action if they’re truly not ready.

Butler seems to be fine, but the Heat will likely have to play without their star for a game or two early on in the year.