Heat's Butler out Sunday after death in his family



Miami Heat star forward Jimmy Butler was ruled out of Sunday’s 110-106 loss to the visiting Boston Celtics because of personal reasons.

“Jimmy Butler has been granted a leave of absence as he deals with the death of a family member,” said a statement the Heat provided via Butler’s agent, Bernie Lee. “Jimmy and his family ask for privacy at this point in time as they navigate this loss. Updates will be given when appropriate.”

Butler missed team practices on Friday and Saturday, both with excused absences.

“We’re here for him,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said on Sunday, per the Miami Herald. “We had two practices without him. We’re grateful we were able to have two practices at this time of the year. We needed to work through some things. Obviously, we’re playing a quality opponent today and we’re looking forward to that.”

Butler, 34, boasts team-best averages in points (21.4), assists (4.6) and steals (1.3) in 37 games (all starts) this season. He is shooting 50% from the floor and 44% from 3-point range.

The Heat next play Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks, the first game of a season-long six-game road trip that will last the rest of February.

Field Level Media contributed to this report.



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