Report: Jimmy Butler telling people he will be back for playoffs
We don’t know a lot about Jimmy Butler’s meniscus injury (other than that it’s not an ACL injury as feared). Because of that, it’s impossible to put a timeline on his return. We don’t know what kind of surgery he likely needs — a traditional meniscus partial removal takes six weeks or so to get a player back on the court (but is harder on the knee long-term as cushioning in it is removed, Dwyane Wade had this), but a repair could take three months or more before he is back on the court. Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said this pregame Saturday:
Thibs on Jimmy’s meniscal injury: It’s a meniscus injury and I think Jimmy is still gathering information, so we’ll have more information on that tomorrow. He is getting a second opinion, which we encourage all of our players to do.— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) February 25, 2018
However, Butler himself is telling people he will be back for the playoffs.
Tom Thibodeau will address reporters here in Minnesota shortly. But Butler is telling people he plans to be back for playoffs.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) February 25, 2018
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
Is that the optimism of a fierce competitor? Players are often the worst judge of their ability to return from injury.
Or, does he know that a meniscus repair is out of the question with his injury, that a partial removal is the only option (as is true in some cases)? That has a speedier return that could have him back for the playoffs.
In the short-term, Minnesota is going to need a lot more out of Andrew Wiggins, and they need to play a lot better team defense, to hold on to a playoff slot in the West. The Timberwolves have been -8.3 per 100 possessions without Butler this season, but went 2-2 in the four games he missed. Minnesota is currently the four seed in the West at 36-26, but just three games from falling out of the postseason in a crowded conference.