PORTLAND – A game after Jimmy Butler said he is calling the shots on when he feels like his body can play, Butler has apparently decided Sunday is going to be a day of rest.
Butler will not play in the Wolves’ game at Portland, the second game he is missing in the last five days for precautionary rest. Thibodeau said the reasoning behind Butler’s absence is the Wolves’ busy schedule on this West Coast road trip. The Wolves play the Clippers on Monday and the Lakers on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
“We’re looking at three (games) in four (days),” Thibodeau said. “You just want to be smart with that.”
Butler played in Friday’s game against Golden State after missing Wednesday’s game against the Jazz for what Thibodeau termed “general soreness.” After the Warriors game, Butler, who has made a trade request of the Wolves, held his first media session since reports surfaced questioning the motives behind his choice to sit out games.
During that session, Butler said he was the one making the calls when he plays or not.
“I let them know,” Butler said. “They don’t know how my body feels. If I’m nicked up, then you can count on that. I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes.”
Thibodeau said Butler will see how he feels before deciding if he is going to play Monday against the Clippers.
Thibodeau maintained that Butler’s situation isn’t a distraction for the team.
“You have to focus on who’s here every day and who’s available and who’s playing,” Thibodeau said. “That’s normal in the course of an NBA season, you have a lot of things you’re looking at, whether it’s injury or a guy’s out for precautionary rest.”
Jeff Teague will miss his third consecutive game because of a left knee bruise while Thibodeau said Derrick Rose is “probable” after playing only five minutes against the Warriors because of a sore left ankle.