Jimmy Butler Injury: Updates on Bulls Star's Knee and Return

Adam WellsFeatured Columnist

Chicago Bulls guard/forward Jimmy Butler reacts after missing a basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler strained his left knee against the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 5 and was taken into the locker room in a wheelchair. He hasn't played since. However, it appears a return date is set. 

Continue for updates. 

Butler Expected to Play vs. Rockets 

Saturday, March 5

Head coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters Butler is "good to go" for Saturday's game against Houston. 

Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com noted on Thursday that Butler would suit up and be in the starting lineup on Saturday.

Hoiberg Comments on Butler's Recovery

Sunday, Feb. 28

Hoiberg told reporters that Butler's MRI "looked good" and expanded on how the guard is feeling, via Friedell:

The swelling is significantly down and now it's just a matter of Jimmy getting back out there, getting his timing back, getting his conditioning and getting comfortable. He still hasn't exploded off the one leg, he's done some two-foot jumping. He's done some lateral slides, now it's about getting him out there in scrimmage-type situations and getting him ready to play.

As for a timeline for his return, Hoiberg said the Bulls will "get more of an idea after he tests it."

Butler's Timeline for Return Revealed

Sunday, Feb. 21

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported Butler is "still [two to three] weeks away" from returning to the court. 

The Bulls announced on Feb. 9 that Butler would miss three to four weeks.

Butler Avoids Serious Injury

NBA TV provided a Vine of Butler's injury:

Butler's evolution has been critical for the Bulls. He's become the team's best player, while the performances of Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson have declined this season. 

The Bulls don't have much depth, with only four players averaging double figures in scoring this season. Their once-strong defense remains solid, ranked 10th in defensive rating, per Basketball-Reference.com, but offensive consistency has been a problem.

Injuries have already hindered the Bulls this season. Star center Joakim Noah is likely out for the rest of the year after undergoing shoulder surgery in January. Losing that anchor in the middle puts more pressure on Butler to shoulder the load. 

Doug McDermott is a capable shooter from beyond the arc, but he doesn't possess Butler's all-around ability to grab rebounds or distribute the ball. The Bulls have been facing an uphill climb all year, and this was just the latest obstacle standing in their way.