An apparent bout with the coronavirus has reportedly taken a heavy toll on Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler.
The five-time All-Star, who last played on Jan. 9, was back on the Heat bench in street clothes for Wednesday night's contest against the Denver Nuggets.
Some fans and observers on social media noted that Butler looked notably gaunt compared to his usual chiseled midseason physique following the lengthy absence.
After the game, a top Heat podcaster reported that Butler had lost a scary amount of weight in the span of just seven days while stricken with the virus.
"Jimmy Butler was back on the bench tonight," host Ethan J. Skolnick said on the Five on the Floor podcast. "That is a good sign.
"You may have noticed he looks a little lighter. .. He lost more than a dozen pounds in roughly a week. So, everybody can read into that how they like. The good news is, Jimmy is back, he's with the team. He passed the covid protocols for the league, otherwise he wouldn't be around his team. So, the worst is over."
Even if Butler is nearing a return to the floor, it may take him some time to regain his conditioning and feel comfortable after missing a few weeks, Skolnick cautioned.
Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald similarly reported dropping around nine pounds in as many days during a rough bout with the virus late last year.
Incredibly, the projected future Hall of Famer returned to the field after missing only two games.
This week, WNBA star Asia Durr of the New York Liberty revealed that her basketball career has been jeopardized by a 'long-haul' case of the virus.