Jerry Zgoda: Just FYI: today’s news that Jimmy Butler…

More on Jimmy Butler Injury

But Jimmy Butler is here. And, at today’s morning shootaround at American Airlines Arena, while the rest of his teammates were getting ready for tonight’s game with the Dallas Mavericks, Butler was taking another step in his return from Feb. 25 right knee surgery. For the first time since injuring the cartilage in his knee against Houston Feb. 23 Butler was cleared for contact drills; he walked into the Wolves locker room this morning carrying a brace for that right knee. This is a significant step for Butler.
Butler has been doing on-court work for a while, doing some running and a ton of shooting. If today goes well, it should give everyone more confidence in Butler’s ability to return before the regular season ends. But, according to Thibodeau, he’ll have to clear a few more hurdles first. “It’s him being ready to go,’’ Thibodeau said. “I want him to have confidence in his body that he can go again. So, usually, what happens is you’re doing the on-court stuff. You start with non-contact. Then you phase in the contact and you build up. You start with one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three and then the five-on-five. And, after each step, you have to see how it responds the next day. So far it’s been pretty good.’’
Jimmy Butler and Crawford stayed on the court long after practice shooting three-pointers. Butler, coming back from Feb. 25 knee surgery, is improving rapidly. Thibodeau said he’s feeling good, doing two rehab sessions daily. But he has not yet been cleared for contact.

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Butler brought his blunt, take-it-or-leave-it leadership style from Chicago and used his familiarity with Thibodeau to lift Towns and Wiggins out of the pressure-free stages of their careers. But Butler’s unfortunate setback in the first game after the All-Star break removed those trusty training wheels. “You don’t want to see anyone get injured, certainly not Jimmy, and we know we can’t replace him individually. We have to do it collectively,” Thibodeau told Yahoo Sports. “But whenever someone goes out, it’s an opportunity for others to step up and grow. So we want to take advantage of this … and really, the only way you can learn is to go through it.”
Jon Krawczynski: No specific timeline yet for a jimmy Butler return but he likes how his body has responded to surgery.
Butler had surgery on Sunday morning at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, wasting little time in getting on with it after an MRI revealed a damaged meniscus on Saturday afternoon. In what could be considered good news, Butler did not have to decide between repairing the meniscus versus removing it, which is often the difficult fork in the road that athletes face when dealing with an injury of this nature, league sources told The Athletic.
The Timberwolves announced on Sunday that team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Diane Dahm performed the procedure and said he would be sidelined indefinitely. But sources say that nothing has been ruled out yet, including what would no doubt be a dramatic postseason return should Butler's knee respond positively to the surgery and the Wolves hold on to their playoff position over these final 19 games of the regular season.
Butler met with Timberwolves doctors and specialists on Saturday after the MRI and also considered heading to California for a second opinion as things unfolded. But Butler was able to receive a second and third opinion on Saturday night, according to sources, and the decision was made to have the surgery on Sunday morning.

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KC Johnson: Taj Gibson on Jimmy Butler: "He was talking so much trash on the plane, you didn’t even really think he was hurt. He came in today making jokes, being his normal self. I think he’s fine mentally."
Nick Friedell: Jimmy Butler is here at Target Center. He's on crutches but is in good spirits -- casually talking to reporters and Bulls/T'Wolves personnel.

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Shams Charania: Jimmy Butler is expected to undergo surgery in coming days and could return within 4-to-6 weeks, league sources tell Yahoo. Final timetable will be set after procedure.
Nick Friedell: Thibs says Butler is reviewing all his options with doctors and will get a second opinion. Thibs declined to reveal what kind of tear Butler sustained and declined to speculate how long Butler would be out.
Jon Krawczynski: Nemanja Bjelica starting tonight for Butler. Thibs says they’ll go game by game depending on matchups
KC Johnson: Tom Thibodeau will address reporters here in Minnesota shortly. But Butler is telling people he plans to be back for playoffs.
Tim Bontemps: The Timberwolves have announced an MRI on Jimmy Butler’s right knee revealed a "meniscal" injury. His timeline to return is TBD. Given the potential outcomes, probably the best news the Wolves could've hoped for.
Nick Friedell: The good news for T'Wolves is that it wasn't an ACL injury for Butler. The bad news is that depending on how severe the meniscus injury is that's usually at least several weeks off the floor in a best case scenario.
Butler did not speak to reporters after the game but was in high spirits, according to multiple teammates. He was visited in the training room by Harden. "His first reaction was, 'I'm OK, I'll be OK,'" Wolves forward Taj Gibson said. "But he was smiling. That was a big thing and it was a huge relief for everybody in this locker room. He's a warrior so we've just got to hold it down for him."

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Mike Richman: Thibideau says Jimmy Butler is out tonight vs. the Blazers. Jamal Crawford is available.
@NickFriedell: Did Jimmy [Butler] have an MRI on his knee? #Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau: “He may have.”

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Nick Friedell: Me: Did Jimmy have an MRI on his knee? Thibs: “He may have.” Then he says Butler’s absence is precautionary. Butler just has some “general soreness.” Ah, Thibs. Some things never change.
Josh Lewenberg: Some big pre-game news from @Twolves_PR: Wolves will be without Jimmy Butler (and Jamal Crawford) tonight. Robs us of what would have been a fun DeMar/Jimmy matchup but Raptors catch a bit of a break on 2nd night of a b2b. Butler's having a great season.
Kyle Ratke: Jimmy Butler (back) will play tonight barring any setbacks while warming up.
Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler’s sore back kept him out of most of practice Sunday and could keep him out of Monday’s game against Portland at Target Center. “He didn’t do much today,’’ Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said after Sunday’s short practice. “Just getting treatment. We’ll see how he is [Monday].” The Timberwolves officially listed Butler as questionable with back spasms.
Minnesota Timberwolves star forward Jimmy Butler will miss his second straight game Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons because of an upper respiratory infection. Butler was a late scratch from Tuesday's loss to the Indiana Pacers, and Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game that he was unsure of Butler's status against Detroit.
Jimmy Butler will play in Game 6 against the Boston Celtics on Friday night, but Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg acknowledged that the All-Star swingman participated in only "a little bit" of Friday's shootaround as he continues to deal with left knee soreness.
"Jimmy, he's going to battle," Hoiberg said. "It's one thing you know about Jimmy, is he's as well-conditioned as anybody in this game. He's as big [of] a competitor as anyone in this game. He does have soreness; there's no denying that. But he's going to continue to go out there and give it everything he has."
Nick Friedell: Hoiberg acknowledges Butler has some soreness in his knee. Calls Butler a "warrior." Butler will get treatment and will play in Game 6.
Jimmy Butler had 25 points in the Bulls latest win on TNT on Thursday night. During the game, Butler was poked in the eye by Iman Shumpert, but it couldn’t have been that bad because he finished the game. Yet after the game he was sporting an eye patch, but don’t worry because he was just messing around, I guess? The Bulls are 1 game out of the 8-seed. A one-eyed Jimmy Butler would not help them make the playoffs.
Nick Friedell: Fred Hoiberg says Jimmy Butler (heel) will play tonight vs. Raptors.
Vincent Goodwill: Jimmy Butler is out tonight. Hopeful for Golden State but will be evaluated tomorrow
Nick Friedell: Jimmy Butler, on if his injury could get worse if he doesn't rest it. "I don't know. Maybe. I think anything could possibly get worse. I want to play basketball. Sometimes you got to risk it to get the biscuit as Nate Robinson used to say."
Nick Friedell: Fred Hoiberg says Jimmy Butler is still in Chicago. He will not play vs. Knicks but he is feeling better. Hoiberg hopeful he will play Saturday.
About the only things clear regarding Jimmy Butler's left knee is that he doesn't look like himself and that the injury's aftermath has him struggling mentally. One day after saying "maybe" exploratory surgery would be an offseason possibility in a published report, Butler admitted no doctor has mentioned that scenario. "I don’t think I’m going to need surgery in the offseason," Butler said following Saturday's morning shootaround at Amway Center.
Jimmy Butler has recently tried to make all talk concerning his left knee off limits. He had no choice but to lift that ban after a loss to New York in Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. According to a source, Butler was told that exploratory surgery on the knee was in play as soon as the season comes to an end.
And while he was initially vague when asked about it, the All-Star didn’t take that scenario off the table. “Maybe. I hope not,’’ Butler told the Sun-Times. “Is my knee the same as it was before the injury? No. “But I want to play, man. And at times I feel like I’m hurting this team. That’s the most disappointing part because I’m not the player I was. I don’t know if there’s something really wrong in there, but it’s not really right, either. But I’ll be fine. I have to figure out a way to help us win playing with this. That’s all I’m worried about.’’
Butler has only played in one game -- a March 5 win over the Houston Rockets in which he played 34 minutes -- since suffering a left knee strain on Feb. 5 in a loss to the Denver Nuggets. Butler was asked after Monday's shootaround if he felt the need to be cautious as he makes his way to the floor again after a week off which included a visit with famed surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, in Pensacola, Fla. "I don't think so," Butler said. "I think I just got to go out there and play hard. Don't worry about my body and give my all for this team. You got to risk it to get the biscuit ... I just got to expect it more now and learn to play through that. I think it's tough, but I think I'll be all right. I don't think it's nothing major."
In other injury related news, Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is "50-50" to play against the Raptors as he continues to recover from a left groin strain. "Jimmy's good to go, he had a good shootaround," Hoiberg said. "He had a really good day [Sunday]. Derrick didn't participate in anything [Sunday], went through most of shootaround. He's still a little bit tight. We'll go back, get a treatment at the hotel, warm him up tonight and make a gametime decision. We'll say right now [Rose is] 50-50 [to play]."
Vincent Goodwill: Jimmy Butler is out tonight against the Heat. Derrick Rose is questionable with a left adductor strain
Ken Berger: Jimmy Butler's visit with Dr. James Andrews revealed "no issues" in left knee, league source says. Sigh of relief for Bulls fans.
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