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Jimmy Butler will not return on Christmas Day vs. Pelicans [UPDATE]

Heat All-Star is dealing with an ankle injury and it flared up in the second half of Friday’s game.

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler holds the ball during the third quarter in game six of the 2020 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers at AdventHealth Arena. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Butler will not return to today’s game vs. the Pelicans due to a right ankle stiffness. Butler finishes with 4 points, 5 assists and 6 rebounds in 16 minutes for just over 20 fantasy points. He’ll likely sink a lot of lineups and the Heat lead is dwindling, down to 11 points with the score 79-68 in the third quarter.

UPDATE: Butler is available to play in today’s game vs. the Pelicans on Christmas.

Miami Heat SG/SF Jimmy Butler is questionable to play against the New Orleans Pelicans on Christmas Day at 12:00 p.m. ET. Butler is dealing with an ankle injury and popped up on the 5:30 p.m. injury report on Christmas Eve. Butler was fine for the season opener against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, a 113-107 loss. We are unsure if Butler suffered the injury during that game or if it’s something he’s been dealing with throughout the preseason and training camp.

Butler scored 19 points with 7 assists and 7 steals in the opener against the Magic. The Heat offense overall was decent, but the defense — outside of Butler — left much to be desired. If Jimmy were to be sidelined, this could impact the spread tremendously. Let’s take a look at some DFS analysis and then look at the betting angle.

So Jimmy is $8,000 on the Classic slate on DraftKings for Christmas Day. I think if he’s sidelined, there are a few ways we can approach this. The clear pivot is to Tyler Herro ($5,600), who would see increased shots with Butler out. Herro had an off game in the opener and would get a tough defensively matchup against either Lonzo Ball or Eric Bledsoe. Still, the volume will be there and the Heat need to bounce back and get a win. The season is shortened, every game counts.

Goran Dragic ($5,300) would likely be the one to move into the starting lineup at guard unless Erik Spoelstra doesn’t think that Duncan Robinson ($4,400) or Herro can play SF. If that is the case, we could see a number of players. Andre Iguodala ($3,700) has done this type of thing before but he’s past his prime. Avery Bradley ($4,000) is a plus-defender and can run the point. Robinson has the size to play SF but would be a liability on defense trying to guard Brandon Ingram.

The other side of this DFS conundrum is that Butler being out would make the Pelicans side of the ball very appealing in Classic. Ingram ($8,300) would have a very easy time on defense and would make for a very strong GPP play. Ingram came an assist short of a triple-double in the opener vs. the Toronto Raptors. His price tag doesn’t nearly reflect the type of ceiling he has and with Butler out, this becomes a very elite matchup very fast.