Jimmy Butler took to the practice court Saturday for the Miami Heat and then held court addressing the issues of the day, from his ailing right knee, to friend Joel Embiid being sidelined, to why his hips don’t lie.
Held out of the Heat’s series-clinching victory Tuesday night over the Atlanta Hawks due to inflammation in his right knee, Butler confirmed he still is dealing with soreness even as he returned to practice, but would be ready for Monday’s 7:30 pm second- round opener at FTX Arena against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“It’s all right,” he said of the knee. “We got another day in between. More treatment. Get out there, rip and run. And I know it’ll be ready to hold up come Monday.
“But the time off has been great for myself and so many other guys that are nicked up.”
Missing in opposing colors will be former 76ers teammate Joel Embiid, who is out indefinitely with a fractured orbital bone and concussion.
“I felt bad for my guy,” he said of the dominant big man. “Obviously one of my former teammates, arguably the MVP of this league. Obviously I speak for everybody that’s a part of this team, we wanted Jo. We wanted to go up against them at full strength and prove that we can hang with anybody and we can beat anybody.
“It’s a mishap. I hope he recovers well and he gets back very, very soon.”
From there, Butler addressed being fined $15,000 by the NBA for his sexually suggestive hip-thrust celebration during Tuesday night’s victory, with the Heat also fined $15,000 as a team for posting the video on social media.
“Nah, I’m not surprised,” he said of the moment, which was his celebration of teammate Max Strus scoring 10 consecutive points over a 67-second span during the second quarter of that victory. He instead, jokingly, put the onus on coach Erik Spoelstra. “They’ve been trying to fine me, anyways. It’s Spo’s fault. He always says to celebrate everybody else’s success. Max goes on a 10-0 run, I celebrate, and I get fined.”
Butler said he will continue to celebrate as he sees fit.
“Hell no, I ain’t changing for nothing,” he said. “They’re just going to have to fine me.”
Butler was fined $30,000 earlier this season for his escalation of the incident between teammate Markieff Morris and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.
He joked at the time that veteran forward PJ Tucker would cover his losses, and said Saturday that is the plan again.
“I’m going to take this one and slide it to PJ,” he said.
Asked if Tucker actually footed the previous bill, Butler said, “Yeah, he did. He do n’t know that he did, but he did.”
Heat guard Tyler Herro was back with the team but held out of practice Saturday, as he deals with a cold — and just a cold.
“I didn’t know if it was a cold or if I had Covid,” he said. “But obviously I went through the protocols, I tested, and I was negative. Thank God for that.”
He also has identified the culprit.
“My little one got the whole house sick,” he said of his daughter, “me, my parents, my girlfriend, her parents. We’re all under the weather in my house, but getting over it.”
Herro said he will be good to go Monday, but less clear is the status of point guard Kyle Lowry, who missed the final two games of the Hawks series with a hamstring strain. The Heat did not offer an update Saturday.
Forwards PJ Tucker (calf) and Caleb Martin (ankle) were back on the practice court Saturday.