Butler still out but getting closer

DEERFIELD, Ill. – It will be a telling weekend for Jimmy Butler as he tries to return from a turf-toe injury that has kept him out of action since Nov. 18.

Butler did not practice with the team Friday at the Berto Center, but coach Tom Thibodeau said the starting guard did do some running, and Butler continued his pattern of going through shooting drills after practice.

With Butler now running again, Thibodeau backed off the week-to-week status he had been giving his defensive stalwart and long-range shooting threat.

“I don’t know if it’ll be a full week, but he’s got to practice,” Thibodeau said. “I don’t know if he’ll practice yet.”

The upcoming schedule would suggest that if Butler doesn’t return to practice by Monday and return Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks, the two sets of back-to-back games next week make it likely that the Bulls don’t practice again until Dec. 15.

If Butler has to wait until Dec. 15 for his return to practice, he could then make his return Dec. 16 against Orlando. That would still allow the Texas native to play Dec. 18 at Houston and Dec. 19 at Oklahoma City.