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updated: 11/19/2013 4:32 PM

Injury puts Bulls' Butler in walking boot

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  • Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) vies for the ball with Bulls guard Jimmy Butler on Saturday. Butler injured a toe against Charlotte on Monday.

    Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) vies for the ball with Bulls guard Jimmy Butler on Saturday. Butler injured a toe against Charlotte on Monday.
    Associated Press


Jimmy Butler skipped practice Tuesday and left the Berto Center in a walking boot. He suffered a toe injury on his right foot during Monday's win over Charlotte.

X-rays were negative, according to coach Tom Thibodeau, and an MRI was planned for later in the day. Needless to say, Butler's status for the circus trip opener in Denver on Thursday is in question.

"Jimmy is someone we're definitely going to miss, especially with his energy and defense," Derrick Rose said after practice. "He's been knocking down shots. But the way our team is, if one guy goes down, the other guy has to step up and do a great job. That's Mike Dunleavy, Kirk (Hinrich) or myself if I'm playing the two. We've just got to fill in for him."

Butler started well against the Bobcats, going 4-for-4 from the field, with a couple of 3-pointers, in the first quarter. He has hit 5 of his last 6 attempts from long range over the last three games.

Butler left Monday's contest with the toe injury in the third quarter, then returned for three minutes in the fourth. Thibodeau said after the game Butler wasn't moving well after the injury, so he went to the bench.

Thibodeau didn't talk about alternative lineups. Dunleavy is a likely candidate, although Denver has been starting a small backcourt of Ty Lawson and Randy Foye, which could suggest Kirk Hinrich as Butler's potential replacement.

Low points OK with Rose:

Nine games into the season, Derrick Rose is the Bulls' third-leading scorer at 15.0 points per game, behind Luol Deng (16.9 ppg) and Carlos Boozer (16.3).

Rose is a former MVP and all-star starter. Would it bother him if he doesn't lead the team in scoring?

"I could care less. Winning takes care of everything," he said. "My job is to win games. If I wasn't the leading scorer, who cares? We're winning.

"If we were to win the championship and I didn't win any award, it would still count as a championship. My goal is to go out there and play as hard as I can and try to will my team and put my guys in the right position and do positive things on the court."

Thibs dines with Yao:

Tom Thibodeau went to dinner with Yao Ming after Monday's game. The two worked together with the Houston Rockets for several years.

Yao's NBA career ended in 2011 at age 30 because of injuries. He was in town Monday on a business trip.

"He's a really special guy and he's really at peace," Thibodeau said. "He knows he put everything he had into every day, (with) the commitment he made to improve. There was a lot of pressure on him, being the No. 1 pick, coming over from China. He's handled everything so beautifully and it's the type of person he is that makes him so special.

"I think he's real comfortable with his career. Obviously, the injury part shortened it some, but he had a great career. To me, he's a Hall of Fame player."

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