DEERFIELD, Ill.—After suffering a right-toe injury midway through the third quarter of Monday night’s Bulls win over Charlotte at the United Center, Jimmy Butler returned to the game in the final period.
After the victory, however, the third-year swingman acknowledged that he was in some pain. Butler didn’t participate in Tuesday’s practice at the Berto Center and his status for the Bulls’ upcoming “Circus Trip,” which begins with Thursday’s game against the Nuggets in Denver, is uncertain.
“He didn’t do anything [at practice],” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s going to have an MRI this afternoon.”
“I don’t know [about Butler’s availability],” he continued the coach, who noted that initial X-rays on Butler’s toe were negative. “I want to see what they [the Bulls’ medical staff] have to say after the MRI, so we’ll know more [Tuesday] afternoon.
Thibodeau said he wasn’t sure who he would elect to start in Butler’s place between Bulls newcomer Mike Dunleavy Jr. or veteran Kirk Hinrich, but against Denver, a team that starts two small guards in the backcourt—point guard Ty Lawson and shooting guard Randy Foye—Hinrich could be a logical choice, especially given Derrick Rose’s chemistry with Hinrich, though Dunleavy filled in for an injured Butler during the preseason.
“Jimmy, he’s someone we’re definitely going to miss, especially with his energy and defense, and he’s been knocking down shots,” Rose said. “But the way our team is, if one guy goes down, the other guy’s got to step up and do a great job, and that’s Mike Dunleavy, Kirk and that’s myself when I play the two, and we’ve just got to fill in for him.”
Butler, who left the Berto Center in a precautionary walking boot on his right foot Tuesday, is averaging 11.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.