Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler reportedly plans to return for Game 3 vs. New York Knicks

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It appears the Miami Heat will have their best player back on the court when their Eastern Conference semi-final series against the New York Knicks resumes on Saturday.

Jimmy Butler plans to play in Game 3, according to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, after he sat out Tuesday’s loss with a right ankle sprain sustained in Miami’s Game 1 victory at Madison Square Garden.

“Jimmy is working,” Spoelstra said Friday. “We’ll see. … We know what his intentions are.”

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Butler injured his ankle late in the series opener on Sunday, and though he never came out of the 108-101 victory, he was noticeably limping after getting hurt and played a smaller role in Miami’s offense.

The injury was severe enough, however, to keep him on the bench Tuesday as New York evened the series with a 111-105 win.

One advantage that is working in Butler’s favour is the lengthy layoff between Games 2 and 3.

By sitting out Tuesday, the 33-year-old Butler will have five days off between games to get treatment on the ankle.

A return in Game 3 would be a huge boost for the eighth-seeded Heat after they scored their fewest points of the postseason without the NBA’s playoff scoring leader in Game 2.

The six-time All-Star is averaging a league-leading 35.5 points per game in the playoffs on 58.5 per cent shooting, along with 6.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists.

The last time the Heat played at home on April 24, Butler had a career-high 56 points in a 119-114 win over the Milwaukee Bucks as Miami seized a 3-1 lead over the East’s top seed.