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Jimmy Butler Injury Update: Bulls Star Out 3-6 Weeks with Elbow Sprain

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2015

Jimmy Butler

The Chicago Bulls will be without Jimmy Butler for the next few weeks, but the damage could've been much worse.     

The team confirmed the news Monday, announcing Butler had a "Grade 2/3 ulnar ligament sprain and small bone impaction injury to the left elbow." He could be sidelined for anywhere between three to six weeks, according to the Bulls' release.

Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported the All-Star guard won't need surgery to repair the damage.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune added that the Bulls will monitor the situation on a weekly basis and that Butler could potentially return inside three weeks. According to ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell, the goal is to get him back at least before the playoffs begin.

Butler was injured in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers after running into a DeAndre Jordan screen. He played 22 minutes in the 96-86 defeat, scoring 10 points.

The 25-year-old is averaging a career-high 20.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists a night this year. Friedell noted how his absence exacerbates the Bulls' injury problems:

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell

Very good chance Bulls could be without Rose, Butler and Gibson for most of the month. Not good.

Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report believes Butler's injury also opens up the Eastern Conference playoff picture a bit more:

Ethan J. Skolnick @EthanJSkolnick

Jimmy Butler out 3-4 weeks, according to Yahoo! ... Wizards & Raptors struggling... This is why you try to make playoffs. Never know.

There's almost no chance Chicago fails to get into the postseason out of the weak East. The Bulls are 11.5 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets, who are in ninth place.

What Butler's injury might do, however—in conjunction with the injuries to Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson—is result in a slight drop down the standings, which could mean no home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

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