Bulls breathe sigh of relief with Jimmy Butler's knee strain


Bulls breathe sigh of relief with Jimmy Butler's knee strain

MINNEAPOLIS — Bulls fans who googled Lamaze exercises can breathe a bit easier since it was revealed Jimmy Butler’s nasty fall didn’t have a nasty conclusion, as his MRI revealed a strain in his left knee.

Not an ACL tear or any other serious injury that many feared to be the case when a wheelchair was required to cart him off the floor late in the second quarter of Friday night’s loss to the Denver Nuggets.

“Right now it’s a strain,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said Saturday. “He’ll see our doctors in the morning, and we should get a better idea about the time frame and see what we can do for treatments.”

CSNChicago.com initially reported late Friday night that it was a hyperextension and that Butler wouldn’t miss significant time, as Butler’s headed back to Chicago for further examination and will miss Monday’s game in Charlotte.

At first glance it looked much worse, but now it’s looking as if he’ll miss a few games then be back to go down the stretch of the season.

“Sure, it’s scary,” Hoiberg said. “He took off, he heard a pop. You expect the worst when you hear that. It happened on the takeoff.”

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From the sight, it appeared he landed on his right leg awkwardly but immediately went to grab his left leg, the same knee he bumped Monday in Salt Lake City that caused him to miss his first game of the season Wednesday in Sacramento.

Now the question of "did he come back too soon?" will enter into the minds of many, but as everyone knows, Butler is a competitive junkie and will force himself on the floor even when he shouldn’t.

It’s just another chapter of more injuries to this Bulls team that clearly can’t afford one, let alone one to its best player.

“After you’ve been around awhile, you realize this sort of thing happens,” backup guard Kirk Hinrich said. “It’s rare when a team goes through a whole season without some sort of significant injury or guys in and out of the lineup. We have to focus on the job at hand. Anytime somebody goes down, an opportunity arises for somebody else and ultimately it will hopefully make our team a better team.”

Bulls Talk Podcast: Getting to know the Bulls Outsiders team; bold predictions for this season

NBC Sports Chicago

Bulls Talk Podcast: Getting to know the Bulls Outsiders team; bold predictions for this season

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, the Bulls Outsiders team of Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine join Kevin Anderson to talk about the series premier of ‘Bulls Outsiders’ Thursday night. Hear about how the show came together and what they are hoping to bring to the Bulls fanbase this season. They’ll also share their bold predictions for the season including two potential end-of-season award winners from this roster.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Kris Dunn thinks Zach LaVine could be 'a good defender in this league'

Kris Dunn thinks Zach LaVine could be 'a good defender in this league'

We all know what Zach LaVine is capable of doing on the offensive side of things. But what about his defense?

It's no secret that LaVine has had his fair share of struggles on defense, but Kris Dunn thinks highly of his 23-year-old teammate and what his potential is at the other end.

"On the defensive end I just told him, 'You're as fast as me. You're more athletic than me. There's no way you shouldn't be a good defender in this league. You could be one of those guys who could be dynamic in the passing lanes because you're so athletic and fast.'" Dunn said of LaVine. "And personally, I like to score. If you get in a passing lane, that's a dunk for yourself and because you've got so much bounce that's when you get the crowd on their feet — maybe do a windmill, a 360, something.

"But I think he's been going a good job on the defensive end. It's not going to be easy. We all got to learn and I think we're all trying."

Improving his defense would obviously be a big step forward for LaVine (and the Bulls), and he knows it. 

“I think I had a lot better focus on the defensive end,” LaVine said when assessing his preseason. “I had some mistakes too, but I wanted to go out there and just really hone in on being more focused down there. I felt like I did OK with that. Still some areas I want to get better at, definitely off-the-ball I think I did a lot better than I had before.’’

LaVine and the Bulls travel to Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Thursday night in their season opener. You can watch Bulls Pre- and Postgame Live on NBC Sports Chicago before and after the game for highlights and analysis.