Jimmy Butler out 3-6 weeks with sprained elbow

Jimmy Butler out 3-6 weeks with sprained elbow

Well the news for the Bulls could have been better, it could have been worse. Jimmy Butler will miss 3-6 weeks with his elbow sprain. This could end up being a positive for Chicago in the long run.

As I noted in this morning's article, the Bulls were probably destined to fall at least to fourth no matter what. Once they fall to fourth, it's really kind of irrelevant where they finish. They'll already have to play Cleveland/Atlanta on the road.

Even in an absolute worst case scenario where the Bulls fall to sixth, things won't really get much worse in terms of the teams they have to beat to get to the finals.

Also, Butler will likely get some good rest heading into the playoffs and any other nagging injuries he has should have plenty of time to heal. He was clearly worn down last playoffs, and he should enter this playoffs far fresher for having some rest for the elbow. Since it is his non shooting arm, the odds are that it won't have a considerable performance on his timing/shooting when he returns.

The Bulls won't be a whole lot of fun to watch in the mean time. They'll likely struggle big time without Butler/Rose. However, the end playoff pairings won't be hurt so much by this one way or the other. The Bulls championship hopes, slim as they are, won't really be impacted by this.

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  • A few may see positives out of the latest news, Doug, but at this point, we all know what it matters is to be healthy at playoff time. Agree that the Bulls may fall to 5/6, but it doesn't matter. HEALTH BY PLAYOFF IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTER!!!

    Thibs will be forced to use more Snell and Mirotic and this could turn out to be great a month from now. March will be tough to watch, but if the Bulls can come out with the trio of Snell/Mirotic and perhaps McD developed, this may be a good thing. The starting 5 healthy plus Taj/Snell/Mirotic at least should be good enough to beat the Wizards and Atlanta on the first and second rounds. Bulls could also place Kirk on the injury list and give a chance for T-Moore to play.

    We all saw a glimpse of the Cavs when under pressure against the Rockets yesterday. The same Rockets that the Bulls beat a couple months ago and the same Cavs the Bulls beat a few weeks ago. With a healthy Bulls, I think we still have a chance.

  • I actually think it's a blessing in disguise also and it would seem Butler will return the same time as Rose. This is a really good opportunity to get Snell and Mirotic some good experience and big minutes before the playoffs. I would like to throw Doug McDermott in there as well but for whatever reason he's stuck in Thibs dog house. I'm hoping brooks can get in some kind of rhythm because we need him to fill the void until Rose comes back. I also think this is going to make the team gel defensively and they will have too if they hope to win games. Losing both Rose and Butler is a drop-off of nearly 40 points a game. We're gonna lose some games and hopefully this will be what it takes for Thibs to give McD a shot and hopefully he doesn't blow it.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    There's no guarantee of Rose's return. If Rose is given the choice, I think he'll stay home.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Interesting, you sound like a hater.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    It's not really "hating" to note that Rose has opted not to play in the playoffs in two consecutive years where his recovery time was such that it seemed like he should have been able to play.

    The end recovery time for this injury is more or less the same (should be healthy right at the end of the season). There's certainly reason to doubt that Rose will play whether you believe he is mental soft, physically soft, a slow healer, disenfranchised, or whatever.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Just to play devil's advocate, I wonder if the front office is secretly hoping that Rose will once again refuse to play after cleared to do so by the doctors?

    That would give them an excuse to trade Rose this summer because he just (isn't tough enough/doesn't care enough about the game) to come back after injuries.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    The problem with that is he probably would not net any kind of return... given his contract, you'd have to include a decent player and take back salary.

    Now, if he returns and has a nice playoff run, then maybe a team would throw in 1st rounder or two.

  • In reply to Granby:

    If the front office wants to part ways, I would think they wouldn't care about getting any return, they would be happy just to unload his contract.

    I guess the best-case scenario is that the Knicks and/or Lakers can't convince any of the top free agents to sign this summer, so one of them would be willing to gamble that Rose can get back somewhere near his old form.

    Or maybe the Sixers decide to take a chance with all of their cap space.

    It's really hard to say what team would take a chance, but it only takes one, right?

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Who's going to trade for Derrick Rose at this point? Three consecutive knee surgeries and two years left at $20,093,063 and $21,323,250 respectively. That's suicide from a GM's perspective. Excuse me if I'm a "hater" lol, but there are some peculiar comments about Derrick Rose's future being made on this blog.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Seriously. Rose is un-trade-able. Best bet is he gets as healthy as he can and gives it a shot. He either plays or gets reinjured and we get insurance back on his contract. Seeing him play against the Cavs just a couple weeks ago tells us he can do something....maybe a run in the playoffs is possible this year. It's really the only and best hope.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Perhaps hater was a bad choice of words but It's just hard to believe he won't play. Right now Rose has so much on the line missing another post season could seriously damage his image even more than it's already been damaged. Jmax makes it sound like Rose will just stay home if given the option, but on the contrary I think Rose wants to be on the court more than us fans wants him to.If not for love of the game then for himself. He still has that 138 million deal with addidas and just came out with a new brand of shoes and T shirts. If he doesn't play they're not gonna sell plain and simple.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Actually, I think that this time he will come back, he almost has to without taking a massive hit to his image, I'm sure that Addidas will be pushing him too.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I hope you're right.

  • I think this confirms that we will probably see Nate Robinson back with the Bulls. We need someone to score. I also hope that Mirotic is able to step up and provide scoring too.

    The key question to me is Thibs. Will he play Dunleavy and Hinrich heavy minutes? Or will he rightly play Snell and McDermott. Personally - I'm done with Thibs. He's a very good coach and excellent tactician but he clearly struggles with the "management" of coaching. I don't see him as someone who can coach a championship team. Funny part is that Thibs could actually Thibs himself to having to play Snell and McDermott. Dunleavy and Hinrich have not been very healthy especially with heavy workloads.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    Jeff Van Gundy always tells the truth and he doesn't understand why anyone would be discussing the dismissal of a coach who has won so many regular season games.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Why dismiss Thibs? Because he is not a championship coach. Too stubborn, too many blind spots, all of which have been enumerated here repeatedly.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    Wouldn't it be nice to have a guy like Jarrett Jack on our roster now. Just another one of the "hundreds" of guys that we could have had instead of the corpsedog over the past 6-10 years since we first overpaid him way back in the mid 2000's.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Thibs wouldn't play a guy like Jack, not over Hinrich at least.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Even now, Hinrich would be OK as a 3rd-string PG who rarely plays. He probably has some value as a veteran who can teach the young guys a thing or two.

    But like Roman F says, you can't help it if Thibs keeps playing Kirk ahead of better players.

    Hinrich has played 31% OF THE BULLS' SHOOTING GUARD MINUTES THIS SEASON. Thibs should be fired on that fact alone.

    But it's also pretty sad that Gibson averages 28.1 minutes to Niko's 17.3 per game. Even though damned near every basic and advanced stat says that Niko is playing better than Taj.

    Per36 minutes, Niko has the edge in points, rebounds, assists, free throw attempts, and steals.
    They are tied in turnovers, and Taj leads 1.6 to 1.2 in blocked shots.

    Advanced stats have Niko with a higher PER, TS%, Free Throw Rate, Def Reb %, Total Reb %, Ast %, Steal %, Turnover %, Usage %, Defensive Win Shares, Total Win Shares, and Win Shares per 48.
    Taj is better in Off Reb %, Blocked Shot %, and Offensive Win Shares.

    Not to mention the fact that the team's Defensive Rating is 98.9 when Niko is on the floor, 102.7 when Taj is on the floor.

    Net Rating is, of course, the team's offensive rating minus its defensive rating while that player is on the floor.

    The Bulls top-3 in Net Rating:

    Brooks 6.1
    Mirotic 5.8
    Snell 4.5

    Somehow, those guys are 7th, 9th and 10th on the team in total minutes played.

    They are 8th, 9th and 10th in minutes per game.

  • Another loss season.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Oh come on, the Cubs haven't even started yet.

  • Joe Cowley is convinced that when the Bulls are building a case to blame Thibs for all the injuries when they inevitably part ways following this season. Then again, Cowley is a huge Hinrich defender who also says we'll find out after the season that Hinrich was dealing with multiple injuries.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    There's no need to blame Thibs for the injuries, this is his 5th year as a head coach and he has shown time and time again that he doesn't care to address his weaknesses:

    Playing guys for 15-18 minute stretches without a few minutes rest in between

    Relying too much on veterans, even when they are playing like garbage

    Refusing to give guys like McDermott and Bairstow some minutes here and there so they are complete deer in the headlights when they are needed to give some minutes

    Even with all the injuries we have right now, there's no reason why we can't at least keep our heads above water if Thibs would just show a little flexibility in his rotations. I'd go with something like this for now:

    C - Gasol 30, Noah 12, Bairstow 6
    PF - Noah 18, Mirotic 30
    SF - Dunleavy 24, McDoug 20, Snell 4
    SG - Snell 32, Moore 16
    PF - Brooks 30, Hinrich 14, Moore 4

    Of course, we all know Thibs won't stop freaking out and benching anyone with less than 10 years experience any time the other team goes on a 6-0 run.

    But a guy can hope, right?

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Not a bad breakdown, but I'd give Noah all the non Gasoline minutes at center, but that probably doesn't work if Noah and Gasoline are both starters. Obviously we'd all prefer to eliminate the corpsedog altogether, but apparently he isn't injured bad enough for that to happen.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    It could work, against the Clips Noah played 34:33, Gasol 32.30 and Mirotic 30:40, I'd just like to see Bairstow get a little experience in case he's ever needed. It would have been better if he got some token minutes in the first 50 games or so, but that ship has already sailed.

    And of course I'd rather see Moore and Brooks and Benny The Bull get all of Hinrich's minutes, but we all know that Hinrich could die tomorrow and Thibs would still roll his corpse on the floor for at least 20 minutes a night.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    While some coaches have strengths and weaknesses, Thibs has super strengths and blind spots, and I'm just not sure you can win a championship with blind spots no matter how good you are at coaching defense and getting guys to buy into a team-and-hustle oriented program. Really those two things he's super-good-at will get you into the playoffs every year, but his blind spots might prevent him from ever reaching more than the conference finals.

    His rotations continue to baffle me in that he doesn't get the best out of his players. He has been the worst coach at using Korver so far in Korver's career. The Bogans thing was weird. And as recently as last year, the kinda dumb Boozer-Gibson rotation put neither in a great position to succeed and shows that he had not improved upon this weakness. This year, Thibs' Hinrich fixation is the thing, as there is no qualitative or quantitative reason to play the old hangdog.

    Along with that are the 15-18 minute stretches with no rest. No wonder guys get hurt.

    Relying too much on vets, for sure.

    Refusing to play McDermott and Bairstow -- I think Thibs probably knows what he's doing here, and I've been one of McDoug's bigger supporters throughout. Thibs plays Mirotic, albeit not enough and not in the right position, but he'll play a rookie he thinks can fill an assignment and help. He's not playing McDoug and Bairstow because they simply aren't NBA ready, though of course, neither is Hinrich. If you're going to put the worst player in the NBA out on the floor for 25-30 minutes, let it be McDoug, at least he'll likely improve from it, he might even score some points, but I'm beating a dead horse on that one.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Agree with everything you said, until the last paragraph.

    Not that I disagree with it that much - only when it comes to Bairstow. It's hard to say how NBA-ready a guy is when he's only played 58 minutes all season.

    Thibs could have easily given him 5-6 minutes at the end of a blowout, or 3-4 minutes earlier in a game if we're up by 20+ points.

    Like you said, why is Hinrich playing ANY minutes at SG? Those minutes could easily go to Moore or McDoug, they couldn't possibly play any worse than Hinrich has.

    It's an incredibly small sample size consisting of exclusively garbage-time minutes, but since McDoug came back from his surgery:

    13:07
    4/6 fg
    1/1 3's
    3/3 ft

    BTW same thing at PG, I'd rather see Moore out there than Hinrich with the way Kirk has been playing.

    Hell, I'd rather see a Snell/Butler backcourt than this year's Hinrich. I'd rather see Mirotic or Noah playing PG than Hinrich right about now.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I'm sure Hinrich is dealing with multiple injuries. He's an old player who's body can't stay healthy anymore or hold up to the grind of a season.

    It's irrelevant whether he's dealing with injuries, because if so, they are wear and tear injuries he will deal with every year.

    As for Thibs, I do believe that unless the Bulls advance deep into the post season that he's gone next year.

  • Play McDermott - Play McDermott - Play McDermott - Play McDermott - Play McDermott - Play McDermott- Play McDermott - Play McDermott- Play McDermott - Play McDermott- Play McDermott - Play McDermott- Play McDermott - Play McDermott- Play McDermott - Play McDermott- Play McDermott - Play McDermott- Play McDermott - Play McDermott- Play McDermott - Play McDermott!

    And don't play Hinrich.

  • fb_avatar

    This team is on the wrong side of fortunate. It would've been a better season if expectations was to get the top pick in the NBA draft. Snake-bitten doesn't even begin to label this team. This is going down as the 2nd biggest disappointed season in Bulls history. 1st was Rose tears his ACL in 2012.
    We'll ride the hope-train, and when the team exits in the 1st round we'll hope for better fortune next season with the same cast of Misfit characters. Wow.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Minus the head coach hopefully.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Don't want to lose Thibs. Who's going to replace him, Jeff Hoiberg? UGH! Thibs is the foundation of this team, and without him the Bulls would be lottery bound.
    Thibs has turned mid to late 1st rd draft picks into All Stars, and revived playing careers of players who were rejected by other teams. He has a system, and as much as I question it at times, I know a system is much better than a team filled with talented players and freestyle it. via Doc Rivers.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    It doesn't matter, he's gone after this season.

    He has some super-strengths, as you point out, but also blind spots. Just because he can keep a team out of the lottery doesn't mean he can take a team to a championship. I would rather have Doc Rivers.

  • A short term injury in a season the Bulls aren't winning anything anyway, this should be a blessing for the team as it gives them a chance to give more minutes to their rookies and second year players with an eye to the future. But of course Thibs.

  • On the bright side, this might be the only way for the Bulls to enter the playoffs healthy. If everybody gets hurt then the Thibsiot can't overplay them to death prior to the playoffs starting. This way Rose, Butler and Gibson can control their own destiny as far as being rested and healthy for the playoffs. Who goes down next, Noah or the KKP. Its got to be Noah, the KKP doesn't try hard enough to actually get hurt. It could be Mirotic who might now have to play 48 minutes as the primary backup(or perhaps starter) at both PF and SF.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Sad but that's the truth. The only way this team can make it to the playoffs healthy is to get injured before it starts. As far as who's next I'd say it's Gibson. I know he's already injured but he comes back next week. I give it a week later he's gonna curl that ankle again. He's rolled that same ankle three or four times already this season, that's crazy. People think I'm crazy for getting on Taj about his ankle but when he rolls it again remember I called it 1st.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    When the playoffs start, does Gasol turn it up, or does he get exposed? That's the question. He was able to turn it up when Kobe was the best player in the game alongside him but that was a long time ago.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I can't help but think that Gasol is coasting through the regular season, knowing that Thibs is going to play him too many minutes and that the only way he won't be completely spent by playoff time is to take it easy for most of the regular season.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I bet exposed, especially physically.

    With the Lakers in addition to Kobe he had a mountain of a man in Andrew Bynum(at his peak) playing center next to him to do all the heavy lifting physically, and for one or maybe 2 of the years he had Ron Artest also.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Gasol has always been a finesse, skills player and not a banging, physical player.

    It should be noted that Gasol didn't with Bynum a whole lot on the 2 Laker title teams (2009 and 2010). Bynum only played 17 minutes per game in the 2009 playoffs, and since he was usually Gasol's backup for the 8 minutes Gasol was on the bench, they weren't on the court together very often. Gasol was on the floor much more often with Odom at PF (he played 32 minutes/night in the 2009 playoffs).

    Bynum played a little more in the 2010 playoffs (24 min/game), but again he was the back-up center so Gasol only played with AB roughly 16 minutes/game. Odom was still getting 29 min at PF.

    Butler is a fairly physical SG/SF, but he sure as hell is no Metta Artest Peace World.

    Of course, none of that changes your actual point, which is that Gasol is far from the most physical guy on the planet.

  • No new players on the playoff roster. I believe the FO has already thrown in the towel on this season. We needed another pg and/or another big for the playoffs. Well maybe they knew Thibs would not play them either.

  • Another big? Really? We already have one too many bigs, hell if anything we need to lose a big, not add one.

    Another PG? We already have E'Twaun Moore who Thibs refuses to play, what makes you think he would play a backup PG fresh off the street?

    Any PG on the market, there's a reason they are currently on the open market...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Don Ellis:

    I agree w most of your thoughts, but Dragic would look really nice as our starting PG right now, and back up rose and a few minutes at SG ( either has back up to butler or in a small back court w rose and butler at the 3)

    Too bad rose didn't get hurt a week earlier although the FO isn't as smart as pat Riley as a unit.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I was only speaking of this season going forward, obviously I'd love to have Dragic right about now but it's too late for that.

    And I don't think he'd sign here long-term even if we had traded for him, IIRC a lot of the reason he wanted out of Phoenix was that he wants to play PG full-time. I could be wrong, of course.

  • I agree with many, including Dougie, that Thibs is done if the Bulls lose again in the 1st round.

    I think he stays (or, perhaps mutually split, I suppose) if they have a strong run - say, to the ECF.

    Now, losing in round 2 to Cleveland in 7 games when we don't have home court and seeing Cleveland then advance to the Finals... it's a tough call. Maybe he stays.

    I like Thibs overall because he brings stability to the organization and he's well respected. However, I do cringe at playing Hinrich so many minutes. And, not playing McDermott at all now that he's healthy?! Not even in blowouts? We should see now with Butler out.

    I would like a coach that pays more attention to stats and efficiency ratings. This coach would certainly not play Hinrich many minutes - if at all. He would tell Rose NOT to shoot 3s. He would preach corner 3s and layups and not settling for 22 foot jumpers. He would adjust lineups based on what the statistically-based scouting report says to do... like Rick Carlisle in the 2011 Finals playing Barea and Kidd together and telling his team to move the ball as fast as possible in order to beat the Heat D. Seems obvious, but Thibs had the ball in Rose's hands just so much that Miami trapped him and nobody else could do squat back in the 2011 ECF. The ball didn't move enough. Again, maybe because he was playing Bogans at SG, which proves my point.

  • you make some good points. i always thought that the Thibs/Pax marriage was ideal and would lead to a title, but it sure doesn't look that way. thibs is a great defensive coach who needs a team that will play together and work hard, and pax only drafts those kinds of guys. i thought they were building a more talented version of that A.I 76ers team that made the finals against the Lakers. Tough rebounders, great defenders, 3 and D wings, and a dynamic guard who could break down a defense at will and carry the offensive load. unfortunately, rose hasn't held up. While everyone is writing rose off, i am actually encouraged by this year. He played a pretty full schedule and did not have the constant, varied injuries that plagued him earlier in his career. he clearly has built his body up, is stretching and training religiously, and seems to be holding up well except for a tiny piece of cartilage that probably should have been cut out last year. he's only 26 and i think there is a good chance that he has a healthy two seasons ahead of him. Add Butler, Snell, Noah, Mirotic, McDermott, etc. to a healthy Rose and this team could be fun to watch, but probably under a different coach

  • You know, I am sort of pissed that Van Gundy, for the second time, has used a national TV forum to blast the Bulls management in defense of his pal Thibs. I am also pissed at Mike Breen for teeing-up Van Gundy's rant. Clearly, this was a pre-arranged scenario set up between the two of them. What is surprising is that I had read somewhere, just a few days before, that some producer had told Van Gundy to cool it on his criticism of Bulls management.

    Having said that I essentially believe Van Gundy is right. I just don't like the way he handled it. For the last 30 or so years the Bulls have been managed by two guys- Krause and Paxson- who I believe were (are) emotionally unsuited for the job. I could list the reasons why I believe this but I think many of you know them. Two important ones were Krause's jealousy of Jackson's independence and success and Paxson's violent temper.

    I am the original Hinrich "hater." To play this guy more than eight minutes a game is absurd. I also fault Thibs for not putting Rose on a tight leash for throwing-up those idiotic threes when he clearly demonstrated poor shooting mechanics. But Van Gundy is also right in that the Bulls are not going to be able to find a better coach in the market. I believe fans are delusional when they think someone like Hoiberg can do a better job than Thibs. What is extremely telling to me is that the players still respect Thibs eventhough he is a tough taskmaster. I am not sure the Bulls would have a better record than they do now if someone else were coaching, even with the mistakes he has made for which he has been rightly criticized.

    What's that saying about being careful what you ask for?

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