We now know the timeline, 3-4 weeks out for Jimmy Butler with a hyperextended left knee.
If you look at the injury itself, while it occurred during a contact play at the rim, the injury was actually on the plant leg and had nothing to do with the contact. So it was less of a 'anything can happen in an NBA game' type of injury than one that could be determined by a breakdown over time.
I don't know about you, but I'm less of a 'move on, focus on the future' type and instead of 'this sucks, who can we look back and blame?!?' kind of guy.
Really surprising Butler injuring the same knee he had just missed games for with tendinitis on a non-contact injury not getting more play.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) February 9, 2016
Tom Thibodeau was fired because Gar Forman is a thin-skinned bureaucrat of a basketball executive, but a reported main source of consternation was the minutes doled out to Butler and other important Bulls.
Hoiberg's done little different in his inaugural season. Butler's minutes have technically decreased, from 38.7 to 37.9. But that still leads the league in minutes, and the increase in pace this year likely more than compensates in exertion incurred during those minutes. Butler leads the entire NBA in distance ran per game, nearly .1 miles more per contest than the 2nd-most, and 1/3 mile more than James Harden (who's second in minutes).
That's the total minutes, and you could argue that was less of an issue then how those minutes were deployed and in which situations. While Hoiberg does seem to at least employ a hook when the team is up big (Butler played only 31 minutes in that blowout win over the Lakers), he's done similar things with Butler that Thibs did, like playing Butler over 48 minutes in OT games, playing Butler for entire quarters and halves, and more egregiously playing him heavy minutes when nursing an injury.
Ugh. Butler played 47 mins on 2nd night of B2B. Missed next gm w/bad left knee. Then played at DEN and was carted off the floor. Sad stuff.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) February 9, 2016
Indeed, is 'sad' the right adjective here?
Nick Friedell tried to absolve Hoiberg a bit yesterday, saying lack of depth was an issue more than minutes:
Why have Butler's minutes been so high?
1. He's the best all-around player on the team.
2. Snell and McDermott just aren't that good.
Hoiberg has his faults and has made mistakes but Bulls' lack of depth and the fact he played JB so many minutes should be blamed on Gar/Pax. Hoiberg, like Thibs before him, is paid to win games. When a coach doesn't trust his bench then the minutes issue becomes even larger.
That makes more sense if you're just looking at the total minutes, but the fact that Butler has been playing through some kind of injury for most of this season (heel, then ankle sprain, then the knee that finally ended the dumb trainer-bet), and still has been used this way, is more of an outright deficiency of the organization/coaching and not just a matter of circumstances.
Especially bad given it's the very thing they purported to want to fix when firing their good coach. Now they have this bad coach who is doing the same thing and not even winning regular season games.