Miami Heat small forward Jimmy Butler is one of the strongest and fittest players in the NBA. The five-time All-Star takes special care of his body, and his hard work in the weight room has helped him become one of the most durable players in the league.
The deadly COVID-19 virus, though, plays by no one’s rules. No matter how fit and healthy someone is, they can experience significant changes to their body if they contract COVID-19.
Unfortunately for Heat fans, they witnessed what the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols can do to a player of Jimmy Butler’s caliber.
Jimmy Butler has only played in six games this season
After reaching the NBA Finals last season and taking the LA Lakers to six games, the Heat have struggled in 2020-21. The team is in 13th place in the Eastern Conference standings, mostly because Jimmy Butler has been out since January 9 due to the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
One of the best two-way players in the NBA, Butler averaged 15.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game for the Heat before being forced to stop playing. Even though Miami has Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, the club hasn’t been able to win games without Butler, the heart and soul of the Heat.
In his first season with the Heat in 2019-20, Butler put up 19.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 6.0 assists while shooting 45.5% from the field. The former Chicago Bulls star became a legend in the 2020 Finals against the Lakers, as he went toe-to-toe with LeBron James. Butler averaged 26.2 points, 8.3 boards, and 9.8 assists and recorded two triple-doubles. Despite losing to the Lakers in six games, the Heat knew they had a bright future with Butler leading the way.
Butler is one of the hardest workers in the NBA. He routinely works out at five in the morning, and his dedication to his craft, both in the weight room and basketball floor, has helped Butler become the all-world player he is today.
However, Jimmy Butler’s insane work ethic and muscular body couldn’t help him defeat COVID-19.
Jimmy Butler lost more than 12 pounds
According to Ethan J. Skolnick of Five Reasons Sports, Jimmy Butler lost more than 12 pounds while he was in the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Heat fans grew very concerned for Butler when they saw him on the team bench.
“You may have noticed he looks a little lighter. He lost more than a dozen pounds in roughly a week,” Skolnick said on the Five On The Floor Podcast. “So, everybody can read into that how they like. The good news is, Jimmy is back, he’s with the team. He passed the COVID protocols for the league, otherwise, he wouldn’t be around his team. So, the worst is over.”
It’s unclear when Jimmy Butler is going to play again. While the Heat desperately need their swingman back, the organization won’t rush Butler back since he needs to regain his conditioning and strength.
Will the Heat make a trade this season?
The Heat are only 6-12 on the season after losing to the LA Clippers on Jan. 28. Things will get better for Miami once Jimmy Butler returns to the lineup, but some pundits believe president Pat Riley needs to make a trade to give the offense a jolt of energy.
Riley and Co. decided not to trade for James Harden, who got traded to the Brooklyn Nets. It is widely believed that the Heat want to acquire Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards and pair him next to Butler and Bam Adebayo.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.