Jimmy Butler was hit in the ribs early in the Bulls drubbing of the Nuggets Friday night. After the game, Thibs announced that the X-Ray showed no break, and so he's day-to-day, and has not yet been ruled out for travel on Saturday to Miami.
The injury was suffered on a sorta-freak play (though maybe not given how hard Butler plays) where he landed on a knee after drawing a foul. What followed was classic Bulls. Butler stayed in the game to convert the free throw (if he didn't, he would've been ruled out), while ESPN flashed the graphic of Butler playing over 42 minutes a night since the Deng trade and the announcers joking about that workload and ThibsBall.
Then as the Nuggets had the ball, Butler was clearly grimacing, causing Mike Tirico to literally say "I don't know what the Bulls are doing", and both announcers advocating taking a foul or a timeout when they got the ball back. Instead the Bulls ran a full possession with Butler holding his side in the corner, the ball actually finding its way out to him.
Butler actually hit the 3-pointer (his first in a while), then doubled over in pain. The Nuggets scored fairly quickly, after which the Bulls called timeout. Butler didn't return for the rest of the game.
So the good news is that it's not broken, obviously. Just across the court the Nuggets' Ty Lawson was missing yet another game with his own broken rib. We'll see how 'day-to-day' is treated in this instance. It also just serves as a reminder that if this team actually had championship aspirations we may not have been so cool with this full-tilt February attitude, which combined with a totally-thin roster has led to some high minutes loads. Granted, if they had a better team that probably means a more full roster, but it hasn't been a new complaint that Thibs should've been spelling Butler more with the mildly-capable Tony Snell for at least several more minutes a game.
But this injury happened in the first quarter, so it doesn't matter you can't prove anything nyah nyah nyah. And of course, the attitude leads to the winning, Butler is that important. AND, though the Bulls were totally broken down by the time they got to the playoffs last year, they still won that first-round series. So that can certainly happen again, it just may look painful again too.