While the Chicago Bulls have finally turned things around with a current five game winning streak, they got some bad news on Jimmy Butler. Butler suffered a sprained toe (turf toe) on his right foot during the game against the Charlotte Bobcats. He will miss a few weeks and won’t be traveling with the team on their current circus road trip.
The injury is not major, but it’s a big blow for the Bulls. They are just starting to gain some confidence and finding those winning ways. Butler, who’s been up and down as the starting two-guard this season, was averaging 11.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals in nine games. He was just starting to gain a connection with point guard Derrick Rose, which is very important.
The main spot Butler will be missed for the next two to three weeks will be on the defensive side. He is regarded as one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. He has the size, strength and quickness to stay with just about anybody from point guards to small forwards. Coach Tom Thibodeau loves to use Butler on premier perimeter players. Now this puts more pressure on Luol Deng to defend the wing guys.
Someone will have to step up in Butler’s absence. This is where coach Thibs likes to say the next man up, which will be a combination of Kirk Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy Jr. The only problem with that is that leaves the bench with one less guy. Hinrich and Dunleavy are more than capable of filling in for Butler. Hinrich is a former starter and Dunleavy brings size (6-foot-9) as well as shooting.
Butler will be missed big time from the Bulls’ starting lineup. His energy on the defensive side of the ball and ability to knock down shots are major assets for the Bulls. This isn’t the first time the Bulls have dealt with injuries. But the beat must go on, and the Bulls will find a way to navigate through the season.