Though he hasn’t been officially ruled out for Sunday’s contest, Jimmy Butler may have reaggravated the heel injury that kept him out of three games last week. On Friday night, in his first-game back, the Bulls swingman was seen limping on the court, visibly affected by the foot injury.
When asked if the pain on Friday will limit him heading forward, the Bulls All-Star didn’t seem sure. “That’s a good question,” Butler told ESPN’s Nick Friedell following a loss to the Suns. “That’s a really good question.”
In 49 games with the Bulls this season, the 27-year-old has put forth career-high averages of 24.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Even despite the lingering heel pain, Butler managed to post 20 points in his return from the injury.
Earlier in the week, an MRI concluded that there was no structural damage in the Bulls forward’s heel but it may be beneficial in the long run for the organization to rest their star before it grows worse. As of today, Butler is expected to play in the NBA All-Star Game on February 19.
There’s more out of the Central Division:
- Rookie Thon Maker started in place of the injured Jabari Parker for the first time Friday night but wasn’t as effective as he wanted to be. “I thought I came out a little flat, and I can’t do that from here on out,” the Bucks prospect told Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I have to be effective. I can’t wait until we’re down 30 or whatever it was. I’ve got to do that from the jump.” To Maker’s credit, his energy in the second half led to the Bucks at least temporarily cutting into the lead before they ultimately lost to the Lakers.
- Second-year Bulls forward hasn’t seen as many minutes as he was seeing earlier in the season but he’s committed to staying ready, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com. “Before every game I psych myself up like I am going to play,” Portis says. Though typically efficient with the court time he’s given, Portis has averaged just 5.6 minutes per game in February after averaging 14.4 in January.
- Though he’s always posted decent steal numbers, Andre Drummond is starting to round out his game on the defensive end, writes Eric Woodyard of MLive. “I think he’s improved a little bit over the last three or four games, in terms of coming to block,” Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy said. The Pistons have won four of their past six contests and currently sit eighth in the East with a 25-29 record.