During their lone season as Miami Heat teammates, Udonis Haslem and Caron Butler personified the type of hustle that would define the rebirth of the franchise from a pair of lean seasons. This season, the two spent the majority of their time trying to fight their way back from debilitating injuries, Haslem from foot surgery the third week of the season, Butler from a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee on Jan. 1. With his Dallas Mavericks closing in on a berth in the NBA Finals, Butler has yet to make it back. But when Haslem made his breakthrough against the Chicago Bulls in these best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals that the Heat now lead 2-1, Butler was among the first to text words of encouragement. The goal for the 2003-04 Heat teammates is to meet, on the court, in the Finals. "We want to see each other be there," Haslem said after Monday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. "I would love to see him there just as well he would love to see me there." While Haslem, 31, is coming off a pair of strong performances going into Tuesday's Game 4 against the visiting Bulls, Butler, 31, has yet to be cleared for a return to practice. Haslem said he does not want his friend to push too hard.
Udonis Haslem winning race to Finals against Caron Butler
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | May 24