As if the situation in Chicago wasn’t tenuous enough, the Bulls will now be without their All-Star shooting guard for three to four weeks as he recovers from a knee sprain. Jimmy Butler, who was recently named an All-Star reserve, will be forced to sit out Sunday’s game (and beyond) because of the injury.
Here’s more from the team’s official press release, via NBA.com:
Bulls guard/forward Jimmy Butler was re-examined by Bulls Head Team Physician Brian Cole. Butler is expected to miss the next three to four weeks with a strained left knee.
Butler has begun rehabbing his injury and he will be allowed to engage in all activities as tolerated with the primary goal of maintaining his conditioning over the ensuing weeks.
Some have openly questioned the wisdom of playing Butler such heavy minutes lately, a topic that was said to be one of the many sticking points between Bulls’ management and former coach Tom Thibodeau. That puzzle – along with several other leftovers from the Thibs era – has yet to be solved this season under new coach Fred Hoiberg, who was brought in under the pretense of doing precisely that.
But if there’s a silver lining, it’s that teammate Pau Gasol will replace Butler on the East squad this weekend. It will be Gasol’s sixth All-Star appearance.
Once the break is over, however, the Bulls will face an uphill battle going into the season’s home stretch as questions about their identity, effort, health, and everything else loom large over an organization whose championship window may have already closed some time ago.