Jimmy Butler, recovering from a turf toe injury, isn't ready to participate in Bulls practice. But he was glad to see his teammates again after staying home to rehab during the first leg of the circus trip.
"When I can't even be with them on the road, it just messes me up because we spend so much time together," Butler said Friday at the Berto Center. "When I'm not there, I kind of feel like I'm not part of the team, so to speak. I just want to feel that emotion, even if it's sitting on the bench."
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Bulls game dayBulls vs. Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena, 6:30 p.m. Saturday
TV/radio: WGN/ ESPN 1000-AM
At a glance: Back when the Bulls were at full strength, they handled the Cavaliers 96-81 on Nov. 11 at the UC with six players scoring in double figures. Cleveland had lost four in a row heading into Friday's game at Boston. PG Kyrie Irving is averaging 21.0 points and 6.0 rebounds. Second-year SG Dion Waiters, reportedly on the trading block, is at 13.8 points. The Cavs rank 25th in the league in scoring offense (92.6 ppg). SG C.J. Miles was expected to miss his fourth straight game Friday with a calf injury. The Bulls are 11-1 against Cleveland since LeBron James left.
Next: New Orleans Pelicans at the United Center, 7 p.m. Monday
-- Mike McGraw
Butler hasn't played since the Nov. 18 home game against Charlotte. He's out of the walking boot and was able to shoot around after practice, but he is still probably a week or more from returning to the lineup.
"I know I can put on my shoe. I can shoot. I can move a little bit," Butler said. "I can't push off on it as much or jump. It's definitely getting better. I want to come back as soon as possible."
Bulls have words for Rose:
Derrick Rose was not at the Berto Center on Friday. Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson said some Bulls have spoken to Rose, but they haven't gotten together since his knee surgery.
"I couldn't take it," Butler said of watching Rose's knee injury on television. "It's so hard just knowing that's another year gone for that guy. As much as he did to come back, he's gonna do it all over again. That's who he is. He's going to come back the same way with the same mentality."
Likewise, Gibson isn't worried about Rose's state of mind.
"He's still young and he works hard," Gibson said. "When adversity hits you, you don't run away from it. He's one of those guys that loves it. He's one of those guys you want to be like. He works on his game. He devours everything and works hard for his teammates."
Drinks will spill:
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau shared his thoughts about Brooklyn's Jason Kidd spilling a drink to gain a timeout late in Wednesday's loss to the Lakers.
"That's not anything new. That's been going on for a long time," Thibodeau said. "You probably saw it more (in the past) ... you probably didn't see it more, because the games weren't televised. But people have always kicked water over.
"Jason, he's going to be terrific. I've known him a long time. He's clever, always was as a player. The league, they usually clean that stuff up pretty good."
The Nets coach was fined $50,000 by the league for the transgression.
"I've seen that," Thibodeau added with a laugh. "That's why I try to stay away from it myself."
Dallas owner Mark Cuban sent a link via Twitter to video of a Bulls-Dallas game in 2009 when a drink is mysteriously spilled on the Bulls bench late in overtime, possibly an attempt to ice free-throw shooter Dirk Nowitzki. Vinny Del Negro was the head coach then, but assistant Del Harris was sitting nearby.