Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau Plays Jimmy Butler Franchise-Record 60 Minutes in Game

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 05: Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls seen during action against the Indiana Pacers on October 5, 2013 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Chicago defeated Indiana 82-76. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony leads the NBA in minutes per game at a whopping 39.3. On Wednesday night, Jimmy Butler made 39 minutes look like a Sunday stroll.

In a three-overtime victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls' wing logged a ridiculous 60 minutes. It went down as a team record:

Butler went for 21 points on 6-of-17 shooting, seven rebounds and six assists in his one hour of game time. It was the most minutes anyone in the NBA has played in a single contest in more than a decade: 

Bulls' coach Tom Thibodeau has a reputation for running his wings into the ground, particularly with the recently traded Luol Deng, who led the league in minutes per game in both 2011-12 and 2012-13.

With Deng now balling in Cleveland, it looks like Thibs may have a new go-to guy for the heavy burden.

When asked after the game about the amount of time Butler played, the coach deflected questions with a couple humorous jabs:

Thibodeau can joke for now, and as a 24-year-old professional athlete, you'd expect Butler to be in great condition. But basketball is tough on ankles, knees and pretty much every other joint in the body. Especially NBA basketball.

Considering Butler's already missed 14 of Chicago's 37 games with nagging injuries, you'd think the team would want to be a little more careful with its young starting shooting guard.


For 140-character pearls of wisdom from Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, follow him on Twitter: @AndrewDBailey.