Fred Hoiberg says Jimmy Butler's knee is structurally intact


Fred Hoiberg says Jimmy Butler's knee is structurally intact

Just when the Bulls thought they were on their way to some form of normalcy, Jimmy Butler has to sit out a game with soreness in his left knee, it was revealed 90 minutes before Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Coach Fred Hoiberg made the announcement in his media availability, which came as a surprise considering Butler’s triumphant return Saturday and no mention of it during the shootaround.

“Jimmy developed some swelling in his knee as the day went on today so he will not play tonight,” Hoiberg said.

Hoiberg didn’t sound especially optimistic about the injury, although people close to the situation believe it’s more of a precautionary measure than something that will linger.

The knee, Hoiberg said, is structurally intact.

“We’ll know more tomorrow,” Hoiberg said after the Bulls’ 100-90 win Monday. “We’ll get him to wear a compression thing, for lack of a better word, and we’ll make a determination tomorrow.”

The Bulls are 32-30, with games against the unbeaten-at-home San Antonio Spurs Thursday and the Miami Heat back in Chicago Friday—the same Heat team that gave the Bulls a whipping in South Beach last week.

“It’s been lke this for years,” Bulls forward Taj Gibson said. “It makes you mentally strong going through this a lot. We have to keep digging and encouraging the younger guys.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

E’Twaun Moore started in Butler’s place Monday and made some critical baskets throughout, as well as guarding the red-hot Khris Middleton and limiting Middleton to just 7 of 21 shooting.

“When you keep getting punched in the face, you can’t run,” Gibson said. “The guys have been battle tested. It’s one of those games where we got beat up a lot. It’s a testament to E’Twaun and Mike, and guys stepping up and making big shots.”

Butler certainly wouldn’t mind joining the fight if his body allows.

Presumably, Butler could be back Thursday for the game against the Spurs, where he would be matched up against MVP candidate and contemporary Kawhi Leonard.

Butler missed 11 games after straining his left knee in Denver last month, then returned Saturday to score 26 in a win over the Houston Rockets.

“Not exactly sure yet,” said Hoiberg of a return timeline with Butler. “He’ll meet with the team doctor tonight and we’ll kind of go from there. It’s too early to tell how long he’ll be. He may feel much better tomorrow. I imagine some type of test will happen in the next few days.”

Whether that’s an MRI or some other procedure, Hoiberg didn’t sound as if he knew all the details. In the morning, Butler’s back flared up so he didn’t do much in the shootaround, so Hoiberg has a certain level of concern.

“He’s a warrior and will try to play through anything,” Hoiberg said. “He developed swelling in his knee and developed soreness in the knee. It’s too early to tell how long this one will be. He’s optimistic he’ll be back soon and I never doubt him.”

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Donte Ingram's 2018 keeps getting better and better.

The March Madness hero, who buried a game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of Loyola's win over Miami, will play on the Bulls' Summer League team.

Ingram, a Simeon Academy graduate, had himself an incredible senior season with the Ramblers, who advanced all the way to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.

In five NCAA Tournament games Ingram averaged 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Ramblers. He also had 18 points in the MVC Conference Championship Game to secure the Ramblers' March Madness berth.

He'll join first-round draft picks Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison on the Las Vegas Summer League team, which will begin play early next month.

Here's why the Bulls didn't take Michael Porter Jr. last night


Here's why the Bulls didn't take Michael Porter Jr. last night

There was angst and anger among the Bulls fan base following the team's selection of Wendell Carter in Thursday's NBA Draft. Though the team had been linked to Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. - and he was far and away the biggest fan favorite - the Bulls passed on the former No. 1 prospect, opting to play it safe and find a complement to Lauri Markkanen on the frontline.

Porter fell farther than just past the Bulls at No. 7. Cleveland opted for Collin Sexton. The Knicks and Sixers went with wings similar to Porter in Kevin Knox and Mikal Bridges.

Porter didn't hear his name called until the very last selection of the Lottery, with the Nuggets grabbing the 6-foot-10 scorer. It's a dice roll for Denver, but one it can afford after it won 47 games and was Game No. 82 away from making the postseason. They're a team on the rise that doesn't need an immediate contribution from a rookie. And that's good, because Porter might not be contributing at all in his rookie season.

Gar Forman and John Paxson were asked about whether Porter was in consideration at No. 7, and if his medicals played any part in the decision to pass.

And while Forman wouldn't address medical situations, he did say the Bulls were in contact with Porter throughout the draft process.

"We spent time with Mike, he’s a great young man," Paxson said. "We’re not gonna talk about medical things. We go through a diligent process every single year.

"This year we probably had more debate and dialogue as a staff. Varying degrees of opinion were really strong. We wish him the best out in Denver."

Paxson didn't say that "debate and dialogue" necessarily included Porter, but multiple reports said the Bulls weren't interested in Porter when it came down to choosing at No. 7.

And it makes sense. The Bulls are in a position where they're beginning to move along in their rebuild. They needed a contributor, and someone who could play right away. Porter wasn't that player, and he wasn't going to be a great fit with Markkanen and Zach LaVIne anyway.

It'll always be fun to think about what could have been, but the injury risk was simply too high for the Bulls to consider using an important 7th pick on a guy who might not play for 16 months.