Jimmy Butler doesn't expect to have knee surgery this summer

"It's not going to be as good right now as it was before," Jimmy Butler said of his knee. "That's fine. That's OK. You got to learn to play with it, how to maintain, and still get things done." Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Chicago Bulls All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler does not believe he will have to have surgery on his left knee after the season ends.

"I don't think I'm going to need surgery in the offseason," Butler said after Saturday's shootaround, in advance of a game against the Orlando Magic.

Butler's declaration comes two days after he acknowledged during an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times that surgery could be an option on his ailing left knee.

Butler originally strained his left knee on Feb. 5 in a loss to the Denver Nuggets and missed a month's worth of action. Butler played 34 minutes on March 5 in a win over the Houston Rockets, but then missed the next three games because of swelling in the knee.

Butler, who is just 13-for-36 from the field over his last three games, admits that he isn't sure whether his issues are in his knee or more in his head.

"I don't know if [the knee is] hurting or it's just all in my mind," Butler said. "I think that's where it starts. I don't want to make anything worse. I don't know what to call it. I just got to go out there and just play. Stop thinking so much."

Butler is not playing with the same burst as he did earlier in the season, but has said repeatedly that he is OK physically. Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg reiterated Saturday that Butler was "doing well physically."

"We're obviously keeping very close tabs on him and how he's doing," Hoiberg said. "We upped his minutes a little bit last game, he responded well. Didn't have any times of setbacks, so as far as where he is right now he's doing good."

The Bulls come into Saturday's game against the Orlando Magic trailing the Detroit Pistons for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. For his part, Butler is hoping to get back on the practice floor this week and put in more work.

"It's not going to be as good right now as it was before," Butler said. "That's fine. That's OK. You got to learn to play with it, how to maintain, and still get things done. You just got to go out there and play."

After Butler's second setback with the knee following the March 5 game, he saw renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Florida.. The visit was supposed to give the two-time All-Star peace of mind, but the knee concerns continue to linger. Butler isn't sure at this point whether he will have more tests done on the knee in the summer.

"I don't know," Butler said. "We'll see how it feels whenever it gets rest rest. You don't do anything for a couple weeks and then whenever you get back into it see how it feels, but as of right now I think I'll be all right."

In other injury-related news, Hoiberg said Bulls center Pau Gasol will play in Saturday night's game after missing Thursday's loss to the New York Knicks because of ongoing right knee swelling.

"Feeling better," Gasol said. "We got through shootaround, so pretty good. Let's see how it feels tonight and hopefully have a chance to play."

Gasol said that the initially swelling started after a loss to the Miami Heat on March 11. He acknowledged that the swelling would be an issue until the end of the year. Hoiberg said that Gasol would continue to be on a limit of around 25 minutes a game.

"We'll continue to be careful with him," Hoiberg said. "Obviously because it's flared up on him and it may continue to do that. That's one of the risks with what he's got going on with that IT band. It's just a matter of keeping a close eye on him, how he's feeling out there. Right now as far as the stretches of minutes that he's playing we got to be a little bit careful with that."