Butler, Teague to miss tonight's game vs. Jazz
Dave Campbell | The Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves ruled out All-Star Jimmy Butler in advance of their game Wednesday against Utah (8 ET, NBA League Pass) for “precautionary rest.”
Coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters at the morning shootaround that Butler’s absence was not related to his trade request .
“He missed all of training camp, basically, so he has just general soreness,” Thibodeau said.
Butler told ESPN he planned to attend the game against the Jazz at the Target Center and travel with the team on its five-game road trip that begins Friday at Golden State. Butler told the network he would play against the Warriors and disputed speculation that he was sitting out Wednesday in protest of the lack of action by the Wolves on his desire to be dealt elsewhere.
“Because my body is hurting and I don’t want to go out there and risk an injury, people make stuff up?” Butler said.
Thibodeau was noncommittal when asked if Butler would join the team on the trip.
Butler scored 32 points in 37 minutes in Minnesota’s win Monday against the Los Angeles Lakers , including all five of his 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter. Players didn’t practice Tuesday, however, which made the need to sideline the four-time All-Star shooting guard Wednesday peculiar. Butler did not travel with the team to Dallas for the Oct. 20 game, but that planned absence from a defeat by the Mavericks came after he played the night before in the home opener.
The Wolves also ruled point guard Jeff Teague out Wednesday with a sore left knee. He bruised it during the game against the Lakers when he banged it against LeBron James’ knee. Thibodeau said Teague had precautionary X-rays taken after reporting soreness and swelling.
He also said small forward Andrew Wiggins “should be ready” to play Wednesday after missing three straight games with a strained right quadriceps.
The absences of Butler and Wiggins from their spots on the wing have allowed rookie Josh Okogie to see extended playing time. Okogie, the first-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech, went 6-for-17 against the Lakers for a career-best 17 points.
“It’s going to be tough, but we’ve got that next-man-up mentality,” power forward Taj Gibson said. “So far Josh has been a great surprise for us.”