Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro announced the diagnosis after Butler underwent an MRI Monday morning. He said the diagnosis is good news given how bad Butler looked after Sunday's game.
"Last night I wasn't too optimistic when I saw him after in the training room. He wasn't pretty," Del Negro said. "He was in a lot of pain. So there wasn't anything structurally or anything, he just has a strain so, you know, we'll give him some time off and reevaluate him. But they're telling us around a week."
Butler, who had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 25 minutes Sunday, grabbed his elbow after a rebound attempt and went to the locker room with 3 minutes, 58 seconds left in the third quarter and did not return.
"On the film, it just looks like he came down and was just trying to come up a little bit," Del Negro said. "He just kind of strained it a little bit and he got spasmed up, so he couldn't straighten it because it spasmed. But he didn't get hit or anything. The guy was coming down on him, and he kind of went up and it just got caught."
The Clippers play the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday and the New York Knicks on Sunday, and Butler could possibly return for Tuesday's game against the Sacramento Kings. In the meantime, Butler's absence will likely mean more playing time for Matt Barnes and Grant Hill.
"We'll have to make our judgments, obviously," Del Negro said. "Hopefully, Jamal [Crawford] will be back Wednesday and [Eric] Bledsoe is still out, so we just gotta manage it right now so we don't want everybody out at the same time. But if it's only a week or so, obviously that's very good news for us after last night to see Caron after the game."
The Clippers got some good news on the injury front during Monday's practice when Crawford, who missed the past two games with a sore left ankle, returned to practice. Bledsoe, who has been out with a sore left calf, did not practice but is listed as day-to-day and a game time decision for Wednesday's game against Memphis.