Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said on Monday that the use of Butler would be a game-time decision. Chances are, the Clippers won’t want to risk further injury to Butler, and to have him ready for the playoffs. But they also need to win this game in their fight for home court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
But Del Negro would be wise to hold Butler back unless he’s totally convinced the knee is OK and theres no risk of aggravating it more. It wouldn’t help the Clippers to have home court advantage if Butler continues to hobble with his sore right knee.
Butler deserves as much credit as anyone for the Clippers drive to a divisional title. He’s been averaging 10.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. He’s given the team 24.1 minutes and 2.9 rebounds per game and is shooting 41.8 percent from the floor and 83.3 percent from the foul-line. Those figures are down for this season from his career stats. His career points per game average is 15.5. But Butler is still a dangerous weapon.
Right now, the Clippers need Butler to get healthy and to stay healthy. This is not the time of year for key players to be sitting out for several games.