Did Payton Pritchard injure Jimmy Butler’s knee with dirty play?
Jimmy Butler left Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night with a knee injury late in the first half and did not return. The Miami Heat star has been dealing with soreness in his right knee throughout the postseason, but many are wondering if a dirty play from a Boston Celtics player contributed to the latest issue.
Celtics reserve guard Payton Pritchard was called for a foul on Butler about halfway through the second quarter. Pritchard lost his balance while getting back on defense and grabbed Butler by the right knee as Butler was making a move toward the basket. Butler’s knee appeared to hit off the floor fairly hard.
You can see the play below:
Pritchard pretty clearly trips up Jimmy Butler here. Why is nobody talking about this? pic.twitter.com/AcqA7S1GrV
— Dan (TOBIAS HARRIS OVER ME??) (@_NBAfanDan) May 22, 2022
The trip seemed intentional. That does not mean Pritchard intended to hurt Butler, but he almost certainly grabbed Butler’s leg on purpose. We also do not know if that contributed to the soreness Butler experienced. If nothing else, the play was dangerous.
The Heat said very little about Butler’s knee injury after their 109-103 win in Game 3. Barring a setback, it does not sound like he will miss any games going forward.
Some people have compared the Pritchard grab to the controversial play that resulted in Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant getting hurt earlier in the postseason. You can see that video here.