Bulls

Bulls: Butler feeling better after being 'scared' with injury

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Bulls: Butler feeling better after being 'scared' with injury

TORONTO—Jimmy Butler was all smiles as he met with the media during All-Star availability despite his noticeable limp from his left knee and the stiffness that comes from sitting down for a long period of time.

Such as meeting with the pesky media, although he wanted to be in this atmosphere, around his peers despite not being able to play after being selected as an All-Star reserve from the coaches, being replaced by teammate Pau Gasol

“It’s good, getting better. I can move a little bit,” Butler said. “The main thing is not letting it get stiff, so when I get back I can still move it.”

It’s a contrast from when Butler “heard something pop” on that drive in Denver when his left knee gave out a bit, resulting in what the Bulls are calling a left knee strain, which will have him out for three to four weeks, apparently. 

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

He’s doing ice and electric stimulation treatments daily, as his trainer made the trip to Toronto with Butler to monitor him. Butler hopes he can start riding the exercise bike soon and that he has to keep moving around to keep his knee loose.

“Yeah I was scared, like please don’t let anything for real be wrong,” Butler said. “That’s the only question I was asking. Will I have surgery? How long do I have to be out? Can I play in the All-Star game? Knowing what guys history with knees…”

Butler said the team doctors told him it was something about the capsule around his knee, but couldn’t really get into the medical jargon that’s associated with his injury. He hopes the 3-4 week prognosis can be cut, considering the state of affairs with the team.

“Of course I do. I want to play, we have Cleveland coming out of the break? I want to play as soon as possible,” Butler said. “If I can I will, trust me. But I gotta make sure I’m right. I don’t want to re-injure anything.”

[MORE: Hoiberg implores fading Bulls to 'find ourselves' during All-Star break]

One thing he does know and can’t ignore is the Bulls’ slide coming right into the break. Losing five in a row at home and four in a row overall isn’t something Butler has experienced much as a Bull.

“It’s been brutal. Am I surprised? Yes and no,” Butler said. “We know if we don’t guard, if we don’t play hard, we’ll lose. If we change it, we’ll win.”

As the Bulls slip closer and closer to the bottom of the playoff picture, the thought of the big bad Bulls don’t scare opponents anymore and Butler realizes it.

“When people go up against us, they used to think (man), we gotta go up against Chicago,” Butler said. “Right now the way we’re playing as a team, people might be quiet or happy, excited to play against us. That’s not good.”

Denzel Valentine suffers setback on injured left ankle, will be reevaluated in 2 weeks

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USA TODAY

Denzel Valentine suffers setback on injured left ankle, will be reevaluated in 2 weeks

Denzel Valentine’s troublesome left ankle is going to keep him on the sideline for at least the next two weeks. Fred Hoiberg said Saturday before the Bulls’ home opener against the Detroit Pistons that Valentine is suffering from a bone bruise in the ankle he sprained on the second day of training camp. Valentine will be evaluated in two weeks.

“It sucks because of all the work I put in this summer and being around the guys you want to be out there so bad,” he said. “Things happen for a reason, and now that we know what’s going on I at least have a time frame and be patient with it; it’s bad news but good news at the same time as it gives me time to get ready.”

Valentine had been practicing earlier in the week and appeared close to a return after spraining the ankle on Sept. 25. But the third year wing complained of discomfort in the ankle and missed practice on Friday. A scan of the left ankle revealed the bone bruise, and Hoiberg wouldn’t speculate on when exactly Valentine might return.

It’s the same ankle Valentine had surgery on in May 2017. Valentine also missed the last two weeks of last season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. The injury couldn’t come at a worse time for Valentine or the Bulls, who are in desparate need of help both in the backcourt and on the wing.

Though Valentine isn’t a true point guard, he averaged 3.2 assists per game off the bench last season. The Bulls could use that kind of production when Kris Dunn returns on Monday, as Cameron Payne and Ryan Arcidiacono haven’t exactly showed promise in the early going.

Instead, Valentine is on the mend and it’s unclear when he might return. Given he’s had surgery on the same ankle before, the Bulls will be cautious upon his return.

“I’m a fighter, I’m not going to quit; just deal with the hand dealt," Valentine said. "I can’t sit here and be negative, I just got to fight, stay mentally strong and this will be bittersweet when I come back and have a great year.”

Still in search of guard depth, Bulls reportedly 'planning to sign' Shaquille Harrison

Still in search of guard depth, Bulls reportedly 'planning to sign' Shaquille Harrison

The Bulls are still scrambling to add depth at point guard and found another body to throw in the rotation.

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Bulls "are planning to sign" Shaquille Harrison. Harrison was waived by the Suns on Monday.

In order to complete the move, the Bulls are reportedly waiving center Omer Asik.

Harrison went undrafted out of Tulsa in 2016. The Suns signed him and sent him to the then NBA D-League. Last season, the 25-year-old from Kansas City played in 23 games and made two starts in the NBA. He averaged 6.6 points and 2.4 assists in 16.7 minutes per game.

The Suns signed Jamal Crawford earlier this week and waived Harrison. The Bulls apparently have swooped in.

This move comes just six days after the Bulls added Tyler Ulis, who was also waived by the Suns. Ulis didn't play in the season-opening loss at Philadelphia.

Kris Dunn will miss his second straight game Saturday against the Pistons. His absence against the Sixers showed the lack of depth at guard for the Bulls. Cam Payne started at point guard and split minutes with Ryan Arcidiacono. Payne went 0-for-4 in 21 minutes and led coach Fred Hoiberg to say potential lineup changes are "still up in the air."

Harrison can now join Payne, Arcidiacono and Ulis in a battle for backup minutes at point guard when Dunn returns to the lineup.