The Miami Heat (33-30) are gearing up for a big game against the streaking New York Knicks (37-27) Friday night in the Miami-Dade Arena. The way their opponents have been playing, the Heat will need to be at least close to full strength in order to pull out a victory. That might not be the case, however, as the team’s leader and star Jimmy Butler is listed on the injury report.

Obviously, the level of excitement for the matchup will be very different in Heat fans depending on the six-time All-Star’s status. So, the question is this: Is Jimmy Butler playing tonight vs. the Knicks?

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Jimmy Butler injury status vs. Knicks

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Jimmy Butler was listed as questionable with right knee soreness on the NBA Injury Report but as Ira Winderman reported Friday afternoon, he’s been upgraded to available. He had missed games earlier in the season with a knee injury, so head coach Erik Spoelstra and Miami’s training staff could be extra cautious regarding their two-way star. With less than 20 games left in the season, every marquee matchup could be looked at as a must-win if the team is going to improve upon their current seventh-place standing in the Eastern Conference.

Obviously, though, Butler’s long-term health is of paramount importance. The Heat have a track record of reaching their stride in the postseason and do not necessarily need cushy seeding to go on a deep run. They are a group defined by grit and team chemistry who can trudge through a grueling path if need be.

This year has been a bit, different, however. They have just not been able to find a consistent groove. The team was making headway but have now lost six of their last 10 games. The Knicks are one of four teams in the East with a winning record on the road and are playing arguably their best basketball of the season. That rhythm is what the Heat want to obtain in this final stretch of the season. That will be near-impossible, though, without a healthy Butler.

Concerning the question of if Jimmy Butler is playing tonight vs. the Knicks, he most certainly is.