Tom Thibodeau on Not Playing Jimmy Butler: We 'Thought It Best' to Wait a Day

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2018

Injured Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler watches during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, April 5, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau didn't want to rush Jimmy Butler back to the court, even though the four-time All-Star was active for Thursday's 100-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

"Taking everything into consideration, we just though it was best to wait another day," Thibodeau said after the game, per Timberwolves radio announcer Alan Horton.

Thibodeau added Butler is "real close" to getting back and that there's a chance he could play Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Butler has been out of action since Minnesota's 120-102 loss to the Houston Rockets on Feb. 23. He underwent meniscus surgery two days later.

According to NBA.com, the Timberwolves have a minus-5.1 net rating without Butler. When he plays, Minnesota's net rating climbs to 7.8.

Thursday's loss dropped the Timberwolves to eighth in the Western Conference, and they have the same record (44-35) as the ninth-place Nuggets.

However, only one game separates the Timberwolves from the fifth-seeded San Antonio Spurs, so winning their final three games could mean avoiding a first-round matchup with the Houston Rockets or Golden State Warriors.