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Report: Jimmy Butler not with Heat, speculation it could be Covid-19 related

All-Star shooting guard is still in the bubble but had an excused absence from the team.

Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat tries to save the ball from going out against Mason Plumlee of the Denver Nuggets at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 01, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Miami Heat SG Jimmy Butler has been excused from the team, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel reported Sunday afternoon. The reason for the excused absence is unknown, but teammate Jae Crowder described it as a “curveball” for the Heat. There is speculation now that Butler has been quarantined possibly, but nothing has been reported or confirmed as of yet.

For now, let’s assume Butler is fine and is just away from the team for Sunday to rest. He had a strong performance in the Heat’s 125-105 win over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday to begin play in the NBA bubble. Butler finished with 22 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists in 30 minutes. That workload is well below what we’re used to seeing Butler play, but the Heat’s lineup overall was pretty balanced in terms of minutes, plus it was a blowout.

Let’s hope Butler is fine and this is nothing. If it is something, the Heat have young guards in Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson who would need to step up to carry more scoring for Miami. We also could see Andre Iguodala and Derrick Jones Jr.