Bulls guard Jimmy Butler a step closer to returning to lineup
The second opinion on Jimmy Butler's sore left knee offered no bad news. The Bulls released a brief update Thursday after Butler was examined by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla.
"Dr. Andrews gave a confirmatory opinion and supports the current management of Butler's condition and return to play," the statement read. "Butler will resume workouts today, be monitored and will return to play when appropriate."
Butler, who missed 11 games with a left knee strain, made a successful return last Saturday in a win over Houston, but experienced swelling in the knee after the game. He sat out Monday's victory over Milwaukee and will not be with the team when the Bulls play tonight at San Antonio. It's not yet clear whether Butler might play in Friday's home game against Miami.
Butler has had two MRI exams on his left knee, so structural damage wasn't the concern when the all-star shooting guard chose to get an opinion from Dr. Andrews. The Bulls have 20 games left to secure a playoff spot. As of Thursday morning, they were in eighth place in the East, a few percentage points ahead of Detroit.
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Bulls scouting reportBulls vs. Miami Heat at the United Center, 7 p.m. Friday
Radio: ESPN 1000-AM
Outlook: The Bulls are 0-2 against Miami this season. The last time these teams met, the Heat (37-27) recorded the highest field-goal percentage ever by a Bulls' opponent, shooting 67.5 percent in a 129-111 victory on Mar. 1. C Hassan Whiteside led Miami with 26 points that night, while ex-Brooklyn SF Joe Johnson added 24. The Heat has gone 8-3 since PF Chris Bosh was sidelined by a blood clot. Bosh thinks he'll play again this season, but he's not expected to be back for this game. SG Dwyane Wade is the team's top scorer at 19.3 ppg. He scored 28 points when Miami 89-84 won at the UC on Jan. 25.
Next: Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on Monday, 6:30 p.m.
-- Mike McGraw