Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler will miss Sunday afternoon's game against the Boston Celtics as him and his loved ones deal with a death of a family member. He was listed as “questionable” coming into this game for “personal reasons” where he missed practice Friday and Saturday.

A statement was released by the Heat from Butler's agent Bernie Lee that read, “Jimmy Butler has been granted a leave of absence as he deals with the death of a family member. Jimmy and his family ask for privacy at this point in time as they navigate this loss. Updates will be given when appropriate.”

Miami had won four of the last five games after losing seven straight led by Butler who was putting together exceptional performances, including a triple-double last Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs. However, life outside of basketball has taken the priority, as it should.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke before Sunday afternoon's contest and said that him and the team are “here for him.”

“We’re here for him,” Spoelstra said. “We’ve had two practices without him. We’re grateful we were able to have two practices at this time of the year. We needed to work through some things and obviously we're playing a quality opponent today and we're looking forward to that.”

So far this season, Butler is averaging 21.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field in 37 games played. After today's game facing the Celtics, Miami will head on the road for six straight games and come back home in the beginning of March.

The matchup for Heat against Boston without Butler

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and stars Bam Adebayo and Terry Rozier in front of the Kaseya Center.

If there is one thing that the Heat want to get done, it's to get the upset win over the Celtics and do it for Butler. However, it will not be an easy task as their opponent has the best record in the entire association at 40-12.

Spoelstra also spoke before the game about the Celtics and what they do well, which one could argue it's a bevy of aspects leading to the exceptional start to the season. The head coach would call Boston the “most consistent team all year long.”

“I don't know about the minutiae of managing games, I just know that they played very good basketball this year, and they've been the most consistent team all year long. They present some challenges for sure,” Spoelstra said. “Offensively, they can spread you out, attack, and then defensively I think they're just very underrated. I don't think enough people talk about how stable and good their defense has been.”

Terry Rozier facing his former team

Newcomer to the Heat in Terry Rozier should see an uptick in production with the absence of Butler as he faces his former team yet again in the Celtics. He notched his first start for Miami on Jan. 25 against Boston, but only scored seven points.

It could be a better showcase Sunday afternoon for Rozier has he has been more acclimated to the team since then and finally recorded a few practices with the team. Spoelstra spoke before the game about what Rozier adds to the team and how he has been meshing with his new teammates.

“He adds the speed, quickness, and ability to break down the defense, which we felt we needed. We needed another guy that you have to really count for. I think he's helped our pace. Defensively, his point of attack defense has been a positive for us and there's been a slight uptick in our overall defense,” Spoelstra said. “I think he's been a part of that and incorporating guys mid season, the the group has really welcomed and that's the biggest thing is trying to get him comfortable. And then having those practices helped and even before that, we had some shoot arounds, film sessions, things that were able to help the process.”

The Heat are 28-24 on the season so far which puts them eighth in the Eastern Conference. Miami and Boston faced each other two times before with the latter getting the upper-hand both times.