Wolves hold out Butler vs. Jazz for ‘precautionary rest’
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 01, 2018 07:28 AM
FILE - LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves talks to the media during NBA All-Star Media Day as part of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Dave Campbell, Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves ruled out All-Star Jimmy Butler in advance of their game Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) against Utah for “precautionary rest.”
Coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters at the morning shootaround that Butler’s absence was not related to his trade request.
“He missed all of training camp, basically, so he has just general soreness,” Thibodeau said.
Butler told ESPN he planned to attend the game against the Jazz at the Target Center and travel with the team on its five-game road trip that begins Friday (Saturday, PHL time) at Golden State. Butler told the network he would play against the Warriors and disputed speculation that he was sitting out Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) in protest of the lack of action by the Wolves on his desire to be dealt elsewhere.
“Because my body is hurting and I don’t want to go out there and risk an injury, people make stuff up?” Butler said.
Thibodeau was noncommittal when asked if Butler would join the team on the trip.
Butler scored 32 points in 37 minutes in Minnesota’s win Monday (Tuesday, PHL tiem) against the Los Angeles Lakers , including all five of his three-point attempts in the fourth quarter. Players didn’t practice Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), however, which made the need to sideline the four-time All-Star shooting guard Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) peculiar. Butler did not travel with the team to Dallas for the Oct. 20 (Oct. 21, PHL time) game, but that planned absence from a defeat by the Mavericks came after he played the night before in the home opener.
The Wolves also ruled point guard Jeff Teague out Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) with a sore left knee. He bruised it during the game against the Lakers when he banged it against LeBron James’ knee. Thibodeau said Teague had precautionary X-rays taken after reporting soreness and swelling.
He also said small forward Andrew Wiggins “should be ready” to play Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) after missing three straight games with a strained right quadriceps.
The absences of Butler and Wiggins from their spots on the wing have allowed rookie Josh Okogie to see extended playing time. Okogie, the first-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech, went 6-for-17 against the Lakers for a career-best 17 points.
“It’s going to be tough, but we’ve got that next-man-up mentality,” power forward Taj Gibson said. “So far Josh has been a great surprise for us.”