Report: Jimmy Butler will undergo surgery, return in question

Butler suffered the injury midway through the third quarter against Houston.

It isn't a torn ACL like many feared, but Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler suffered a meniscus injury in Friday's loss to the Houston Rockets. 

The Wolves aren't providing any further information, only saying it's Butler's meniscus in his right knee. But Yahoo's Shams Charania is reporting that it's a torn meniscus and Butler plans to have surgery that will keep him out 4-6 weeks. 

If it is indeed torn, the recovery time is usually about six weeks, according to Reuters

Minnesota has just over five weeks left in the regular season, so if Butler is able to return this season, he might be cutting it close. 

Butler posted a photo to Instagram and wrote, "a wise man once told me... you gotta take the crooked with the straights... so i just smile through it all..."

Fans immediately began panicking when they saw Butler being helped off the court by Karl-Anthony Towns and Cole Aldrich, unable to put any weight on his right leg. 


Jimmy Butler goes down with an apparent knee injury

It's unclear if the injury Butler suffered Friday night is related to the soreness in the same knee that kept him out of four straight games in mid-January. 

An hour or so after Butler left the game, some hope was restored when NBA reporter David Aldridge said Butler's initial X-ray came back negative, possibly sparing the All-Star swingman from the worst. 

How the Wolves will play without Butler

In the six games without Butler this season, the Wolves are 2-4, and have asked Andrew Wiggins to help replace Butler's scoring load. 


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Wiggins is averaging 15.7 shot attempts per game, but that number skyrocketed to 21 shots in the four games Butler missed in January. 

Towns took 24 shots in the first game without Butler in January, but then attempted just 9, 7 and 7 shots the next three games. 

Expect Wiggins to move to shooting guard and Nemanja Bjelica to enter the starting lineup. It's also a good bet that Jamal Crawford will see 20-25 minutes off the bench. Crawford averaged 23 minutes a game without Butler last month before a sprained toe kept him out of two of the four games.

Minnesota plays at the Chicago Bulls Saturday night. 

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