Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves was helped off the court on Friday after suffering what could be a non-contact injury on his right knee. The unfortunate incident came a few days after Butler decided not to play in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game to rest.
The injury happened during the third quarter of their game against the Houston Rockets. Butler drove to the basket, missed, but was able to wrestle the rebound away from the Rockets’ Nene. During the play, Nene looked like he hit Butler on his leg as he fell on his back. With the ball in his hands, Butler pivoted as he faked off a defender and passed to Taj Gibson underneath the basket. His right knee apparently gave in sending Butler to the floor in pain.
Butler tried to stand up but couldn’t put pressure on his right knee. He was helped off the floor and taken to the locker room by teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Cole Aldrich.
It’s not clear from the replay what could’ve caused the apparent injury since Butler was able to continue the play despite Nene hitting his leg. Butler underwent x-rays at the Toyota Center but results were inconclusive. Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau said Butler will undergo an MRI on Saturday to determine the extent of his injury on his knee, according to NBA.com.
As Butler was being carried off the court, he can be seen mouthing some words. Some are speculating that Butler was saying “It’s torn,” according to SB Nation. According to Gibson, however, Butler apparently told the team after the game, “I’m Ok, I’ll be OK.” Gibson said Butler was smiling, allowing everyone in the locker room to heave a huge sigh of relief.
“[Butler’s] a warrior so we’ve just got to hold it down for him,” Gibson said.
Interestingly, the injury happened on the Wolves’ first game after the NBA All-Star Game, during which Butler dressed up but didn’t play a single minute. Butler was later criticized by some for skipping the game to rest his body.
“I’m not going to say that I want to cut back my minutes [with the Wolves], but when I have an opportunity [to rest], I will,” Butler said.
Lou Williams, the Los Angeles Clippers guard who many thought deserved to be in the All-Star Game, was one of those who called out Butler. Williams tweeted Butler, “u serious bruh? Lol” after the latter decided not to play. Williams followed that up with another tweet saying he was just trolling Butler and that he “could care less actually.”
The tweets didn’t sit well with Butler, who offered to play Williams one on one for $100,000 to determine why he was chosen as an All-Star and not Williams, according to Bleacher Report.
Williams has yet to accept or reject the offer but if he is thinking of giving it a go, he may have to wait and see if Butler is cleared of any serious injury.