Bulls

Dempster progressing, but no timetable yet

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Dempster progressing, but no timetable yet

Manager Dale Sveum said Ryan Dempster was a "shoe-in" to represent the Cubs in the All-Star Game next month before the veteran wound up on the disabled list.

Dempster, who has been out since June 18 with a strained right lat muscle, will not return until after the All-Star break. However, the 35-year-old right-hander was progressing and planned to throw from 120 feet on flat ground Friday.

"Everything's been on schedule as far as what we're trying to do and the procress of him getting better each time he throws the ball," Sveum said. "There's no timetable for anything yet, but we'll monitor it and hopefully everything keeps going well...That will be big to see how he feels after 120 feet."

Dempster got off to a blazing hot start to the season with a 2.11 ERA and 1.03 WHIP and figures to be one of the Cubs' most coveted assets on the trade market, but the organization won't rush him back just to get a deal done.

"The earliest would be sometime right after the All-Star break," Sveum said. "We're still going to make sure everything's good and he holds up to whatever he can tolerate."

Randy Wells took Dempster's place in the rotation for the last two starts, but was designated for assignment after his start on Tuesday, leaving a hole in the Cubs' rotation.

"There are a couple options right now, but we'll probably finalize it today after the game," Sveum said Friday. "We have Coleman. It'll be Volstad's day to throw. Those are a couple of the options that we're just kind of weighing right now."

Volstad started the season in the Cubs' rotation, but carried a 7.46 ERA and 1.61 WHIP through eight starts. He was 0-6 and opposing batters were hitting .302 off him. He was sent down to Triple-A, where he has a 4.44 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in eight starts.

Wells began the year in Triple-A before joining the big-league bullpen in late May. He started two games in Dempster's absence, but walked eight batters in 6.2 innings and saw his ERA and WHIP rise to 5.34 and 2.06, respectively.

Coleman made 17 starts for the Cubs last season, but also boasts a 7.32 ERA after surrendering seven runs in 1.2 innings Wednesday against the Mets.

The Cubs don't need to make a decision with their rotation until Monday.

Jimmy Butler's injury produced memories for Zach LaVine, Fred Hoiberg

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USA TODAY

Jimmy Butler's injury produced memories for Zach LaVine, Fred Hoiberg

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.”

With Bulls-Timberwolves looming, Jimmy Butler is diagnosed with meniscus injury

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USA TODAY

With Bulls-Timberwolves looming, Jimmy Butler is diagnosed with meniscus injury

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.

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.