Jimmy Butler practices, questionable for Bulls-Suns

Jimmy Butler practices, questionable for Bulls-Suns

Drenched in sweat as opposed to being in a sweat suit, Jimmy Butler went through Thursday’s practice after missing three games with a right heel contusion — a long and spirited practice that went longer than the usual hourlong sessions they often have.

Still listed as questionable for Friday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, it was likely he wouldn’t have been able to help much in the trashing laid down by the Golden State Warriors Wednesday night.

He still isn’t supremely confident in his ability to plant and cut just yet, but he’s feeling better than before.

“A little guarded but that’s okay,” Butler said following the team’s practice at the Warriors’ practice facility in Oakland. “I don’t want to do too much on one leg over the other. Hopefully, I’ll respond. I was able to move pretty well out there. I think I’m in pretty decent conditioning shape, still.”

Going on the exercise bike the past few days, Butler’s on the mend while seemingly the rest of the roster is on the M*A*S*H unit, with Dwyane Wade battling the illness that caught Butler and others a couple weeks ago, along with Paul Zipser and Isaiah Canaan sustaining injuries against the Warriors.

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“He looked great today,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “As the practice went on, he loosened up more and more. It was good to see him back on the floor with guys. A very energetic practice, a lot of that had to do with Jimmy.”

All, including Butler, are officially listed as questionable on the Bulls’ injury report. Butler has to battle the balance between going out there because the Bulls need him and taking care of himself and his health as he goes into the All-Star break.

The last time Butler had a right heel contusion, he didn’t play as well for a handful of games but still played heavy minutes in the first month of last season.

This time, he’s altering his approach ever-so-slightly.

“You gotta be careful,” Butler said. “I hope I’m ready to go, I’m tired of missing games. I wanna go out there and compete.”

While the Bulls have generally played well in his absence, they’ve still missed his playmaking and defense on top perimeter guys, notably their loss to Houston last Friday when James Harden ran wild for 40-plus.

He hopes his presence would make the game easier for those thrust into roles they aren’t quite ready for.

“I wanna be out there. I would hope I would make a lot of guys’ jobs easier,” Butler said. “Then everything’s back to normal. Ball in my hands, everybody back to somewhat of the same role.”

With no Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, opportunity available for younger Bulls

With no Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, opportunity available for younger Bulls

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Absence often creates opportunity, which means there will be a lot of opportunity for a few Bulls Tuesday night with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade out against the Washington Wizards.

The Bulls’ two leading scorers will be out, with Butler still recovering from the flu and Wade on a scheduled rest.

“Coach said I’m out tomorrow,” Wade said at his locker following the Bulls’ loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night at the United Center.

With two more sets of back-to-backs this month, Wade and Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg have agreed to a plan for his usage. Sitting Wade for the second night in this first set — while also having a game Thursday night in New York for a three-game, four-night set — seems to be the prudent approach for a man who turns 35 this month.

It just so happens to coincide with Butler being all but useless against the Thunder Monday, barely able to muster up much of an athletic effort while fighting off illness. Butler didn’t make the trip to the nation’s capital but the Bulls hope he’ll join the team in New York.

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“When you see guys fighting through stuff, you really appreciate it,” Wade said. “’Be smart’, that’s my message to him. We need him to be healthy. We need him to take care of himself.”

While the Bulls are without 43 percent of their scoring, it means Jerian Grant, Denzel Valentine and Isaiah Canaan will see opportunity against a Wizards team that used strong second halves from John Wall and Bradley Beal to beat the Bulls by 10 in Chicago.

“I’ve been telling the young guys, just be ready,” Taj Gibson said. “Next man up. Just giving them as much encouragement as you can. Jimmy played his heart out, tried his best. But we have to be better.”

As for Rajon Rondo, Hoiberg didn’t dismiss the possibility of playing him but never really dismisses the possibility of playing him — but Rondo hasn’t played in the last six games, with the Bulls going 4-2 in that stretch.

The front office has a lot invested in some of the younger players, so it wouldn’t be surprising for them to get an extended look.

“That’s the first thing when young guys look at me,” Gibson said. “We have more than enough to win. We always thugged it out. If you go in with the right mindset, first you’ll learn from it and then confidence will come.”

Jimmy Butler puts an epic Rock Bottom on Isaiah Canaan

Jimmy Butler puts an epic Rock Bottom on Isaiah Canaan

When Jimmy Butler finishes his career on the court, he may have a future in the ring.

During the Bulls' Christmas Party on Sunday, the two-time all-star channeled his inner Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and put a killer Rock Bottom on teammate Isaiah Canaan. The epic takedown caught Canaan, who was down for the count afterwards, by complete surprise.

No need to worry about the point guard's health, though, as Butler pulled off the slam on an inflatable bouncy castle.

If Butler wants to make a career out of this, he needs a catchy wrestling name. The Tomball Terror? Jimmy G. Buckets, the 'G' stands for grapple?

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Tell us which nickname Butler should use and check out the video above to watch his teammate takedown.