ORLANDO, FLA.Well, theres good news and bad news for the M.A.S.H. unit that doubles as the Bulls backcourt.Derrick Rose, coming off a scary fall in Detroit on Wednesday that led to a left elbow bruise, fully participated in Friday-mornings shootaround at the Amway Center and will play in the evenings contest against the Magic.Its fine. You know if it wasnt messed up, I still wouldnt tell you. Its good, said Rose, who wore a protective sleeve and underwent electronic stimulation, as well as old-fashioned ice treatment for the injury. Its coming along.Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau added, Hes good. Theyre going to get bumped, theyre going to be bruised. If a guy is hurting, we want him to play. If hes injured, we dont want them to play. Theres a difference between the two, he continued, with a slight smirk on his face.Now for the bad news: Rip Hamilton, the other half of Chicagos starting backcourt, is a game-time decision, due to a nagging groin injury. It was tough because when I went back to Detroit, there was no way that I was going to sit out that game and just adrenaline alone, it was like, Youre good. Theres no way I dont care who would tell me how hurt I was I was playing regardless and it pulled during the game, so I wrapped up during the game and Thursday it was bothering me, said the veteran shooting guard, who missed two consecutive games prior to his return to the Motor City, following the teams shootaround. The groin is crazy. Its one of those things that can be nagging. I thought I was good. I thought I was where I felt as though I was ready to come back, but nobody could keep me off that floor anyway. I dont give a damn. I was going to play.While Thibodeau maintained that Hamilton was a game-time decision, Rose perhaps accidentally revealed that his new teammate would sit out of the contest.Its going to hurt us, especially when you lose a player like that, but were ready for anything, said the leagues reigning MVP. We have other guys on the team that areready to step in and play, but well definitely miss him tonight.Backup point guard C.J. Watson, traveling with the team despite his sprained left elbow, suffered in the Bulls New Years Day home-opening blowout victory over Memphis, said that hes making progress, but still isnt ready to suit up.Said Thibodeau: Hes not ready, but hes coming along.
MINNEAPOLIS — That feeling of having your knee buckle out of nowhere, Zach LaVine is all-too familiar with it.
That feeling of being on the sidelines and watching Jimmy Butler’s knee give out, Fred Hoiberg has been there, too.
Different perspectives, and different reactions but Butler’s knee injury produced a sick feeling to many who watched it Friday night. Butler turned to pivot in the Timberwolves’ game against the Houston Rockets and immediately collapsed on the floor, having to be carried off.
LaVine tore his ACL in Detroit over a year ago, while it was revealed Butler suffered a right meniscus injury. But it looked all the same and LaVine understood the uncertainty Butler must’ve been feeling before the MRI revealed it wasn’t an ACL injury.
“It’s scary,” LaVine said following morning shootaround at the Target Center Saturday afternoon. “I wish him the best. You don’t want to see that happen to anybody. Especially a player of his caliber and what he’s done for the team.”
When LaVine injured his ACL, he actually played a few more minutes before being removed and going to the locker room. The time between being evaluated by doctors and them coming back feels like a lifetime.
“It’s scary. You know you hurt yourself, you don’t know how bad,” LaVine said. “You think you’re good, you’re a tough minded person trying to get through it.”
“I saw him on the ground trying to get up, (Rockets guard) Chris Paul made him sit down. Jimmy’s a tough dude. Thoughts and prayers going out to him.”
Butler and LaVine were the centerpieces of the draft day trade involving the Bulls and Timberwolves. With Butler suffering the injury the night before playing his former team a second time, the timing produced a bunch of memories.
In Hoiberg’s first year with the Bulls, Butler went down in a somewhat similar manner in Denver, a non-contact injury. It looked just as bad, and Butler was taken off the floor in a wheelchair.
Thankfully it was a right knee strain that cost him several weeks but it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Considering the minutes he’s played over the last few years, Hoiberg was asked if Butler pushes himself too hard to be on the floor.
“Jimmy he wants to be out there,” Hoiberg said. “I remember the first year in Denver, he went down with what looked to be a serious injury. Thankfully he was back on the floor after 15-16 games.”
Actually, Butler missed 11 consecutive games before coming back for a nationally-televised game against the Rockets, playing 34 minutes in a Bulls win and missing the next three games for recovery.
“We really worried when he went down but it wasn’t something that ended his season,” Hoiberg said. “Jimmy’s a worker. He’s one of the hardest working guys I’ve seen. It’s a huge reason for the type of player he is, that work ethic to make him one of the elite players in the league.”
Jimmy Butler won't be facing the Bulls a second time this season.
Butler suffered a non-contact knee injury on Friday night in Houston. The initial X-ray only revealed he didn't have any broken bones, but the MRI had to wait until Saturday.
The Timberwolves announced that the MRI revealed a meniscus injury in Butler's right knee. There is not yet word on how long the All-Star guard will be out of action, but if it wasn't already assumed that he wouldn't play against the Bulls, it's now certain.
Avoiding the ACL tear means avoiding the worse case scenario, but this is likely still going to cause Butler to miss a significant amount of time with about a quarter of the regular season remaining. An update from Shams Charania of The Vertical said Butler could return for the postseason.
Jimmy Butler is expected to undergo surgery in coming days and could return within 4-to-6 weeks, league sources tell Yahoo. Final timetable will be set after procedure.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 25, 2018
The Bulls take on the Timberwolves on Saturday night. Butler dropped 38 points at the United Center in his return to Chicago exactly two weeks ago, but the Bulls won 114-113.
Butler posted on Instagram a reaction to the injury.
Saturday's game will be the returns of Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn to Minnesota after they went the other direction in the Butler trade on draft night last June.