Jimmy Butler Heat Dec 11, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) sitting on the bench during the first half against the Charlotte Hornets at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid won’t be around for the Philadelphia 76ers on Christmas Day. Similarly, the Miami Heat won’t have their premier star player for their game.

Jimmy Butler will miss the Heat’s Christmas Day game against the Sixers. Miami listed their star forward with a calf strain and ruled him out for Monday night’s matchup.

The Athletic/Stadium‘s Shams Charania reported the news.

“Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler (calf strain) will miss Christmas Day game vs. Philadelphia,” Charania said.

Through 23 games this season, Butler averaged 21.5 points per game while playing 34 minutes per game. He’s shot 37.7 percent from 3 with an eFG% of a solid 49.2 percent. He’s shooting 46.2 percent from the floor with 87.9 percent from the free throw line.

It’s a big blow to the Heat without a guy in Butler who’s been a bucket-getter for several years. How they counter that blow could be crucial to deciding Monday night’s game. The Sixers also won’t have their star player in Embiid, who’s been on a tear in December. Miami certainly caught a break with not having to account for him, but Tyrese Maxey does loom large.

It’s a tough break for both teams and the NBA, too. Christmas Day is always an attraction for the league, with basketball from Noon past Midnight on the East. That two stars won’t be able to participate in a big primetime game is unfortunate.

[Shams Charania]

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022