An MRI exam Saturday revealed that Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star guard Jimmy Butler injured the meniscus in his right knee.
The team stopped short of calling the injury a tear, and coach Tom Thibodeau said he didn't want to speculate on a timetable for Butler’s return. Still, the news Saturday could've been worse for the organization, which feared a season-ending torn ligament after Butler had to be helped off the floor Friday night in a loss at Houston.
“The big thing is ruling out the ACL, that would've been an extended amount of time, so we're hopeful that it's not too long,” Thibodeau said.
Butler was injured Friday night at Houston during the third quarter and had to be carried off the court by a pair of teammates. The Timberwolves lost 120-102 to the Rockets and Butler had the MRI exam on Saturday at Mayo Clinic.
In his first season with the Timberwolves, Butler has helped lead the team to the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, averaging 22.2 points a game. The team was in fourth place before play Saturday as it tries to end a 13-year absence from the playoffs.
“Knowing Jimmy, he's a very quick healer and obviously as tough a player as there is in this game, so I'm sure he'll do everything to get himself back where he can help his team in the playoffs,” said Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, who coached Butler for two seasons in Chicago before the Bulls traded him to Minnesota last June..
Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans will undergo an MRI exam on Sunday to determine the extent of his injured right ribs that forced him to miss their game at Miami. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he doesn't anticipate a long absence for Evans, who is averaging a team-high 19.4 points a game. Evans left Friday's game against Cleveland in the fourth quarter because of the injury.