COMMENTARY | Just as the Chicago Bulls began to find their groove after a rough start to the season, news emerged Wednesday that starting shooting guard Jimmy Butler's playing status is week-to-week because of a toe injury that he suffered during Monday night's win over the Charlotte Bobcats.
What is commonly known as "turf toe" will keep Butler from traveling with the Bulls on their current six-game road trip that begins Thursday night against the Denver Nuggets.
With Chicago -- winners of six-straight games -- finally starting to gain a little traction with Derrick Rose back in the lineup after missing all of last season recovering from an ACL injury, the timing of Butler's injury is certainly not ideal. And with a team still struggling with consistency on the offensive end of the floor, working with one less scoring threat for a significant stretch of games could bring the Bulls' momentum to a rather abrupt halt.
Butler came on strong during Chicago's playoff run last season and was expected to play a major role this year. In nine games, the shooting guard is averaging 11.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per contest; and his 38.5 percent from behind the three-point line will be sorely missed with Rose now leading the charge with his aggressive, drive-and-dish style at point guard.
A starting five of Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Butler and Rose is very formidable when healthy. Now with the roster shifting a bit, the Bulls will be forced to readjust again just nine games into the season.
While Butler's injury does not appear to be serious, any time missed is crucial for a team that simply needed a few games to gel.
Having veterans like Dunleavy and Hinrich to step in will certainly help, but the Bulls could have been in prime position to make a stand out East with Butler around.
Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel
- Sports & Recreation
- Jimmy Butler
- Chicago Bulls
- Derrick Rose
- Kirk Hinrich