LOS ANGELES - After 17 games away injured, Timberwolves four-time All Star Jimmy Butler will play tonight against the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said before tonight’s game that the time is right, 24 hours after Butler was active and in uniform but did not play in a 100-96 loss at Denver that muddied their playoff possibilities.
 
Thibodeau said he will be mindful of Butler’s minutes, a number he wouldn’t specify.
 
“There’s a guideline,” Thibodeau said. “We have to see where he is once he gets out there. Take a look at it and make sure he’s good.”
 
Butler hasn’t played since he went down clutching his knee in a Feb. 23 game at Houston. He underwent surgery less than 48 hours to repair a partially torn meniscus.
 
The Wolves went 8-8 without him and are eighth in the Western Conference, hanging on to its final playoff spot after losing to the Nuggets Thursday.
 
When asked why the team waited an extra day before Butler makes his return, Thibodeau said, “Just everything, a compilation of things. It wasn’t one particular thing. Just looking at everything and seeing where he is, we feel good about where he is. We just wanted to be sure we were being smart about it.”