Still called a game-time decision tonight in Denver, Wolves All-Star guard Jimmy Butler sounded at shootaround this morning like a guy ready to play for the first time since February.
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said both Butler and starting point guard Jeff Teague will decide after warming up whether they’ll each play in tonight’s crucial late game against the Nuggets that has all kinds of playoff implications.
Asked about how he came through 5-on-5 contact scrimmaging the last few days, Butler said, “I feel like I’m a really good player. I can still put the ball in the basket a little bit and I feel like I’m ready to get out there with my guys. We’ll see how I feel before the game.”
He said he’ll “throw up some jumpers” and “take some layups” before the game and then decide to play in a game where a Wolves’ victory will go a long, long way toward them clinching a playoff spot for the first time since 2004.
“If we can’t go out and compete as hard as we can, if we don’t wake up for this type of game knowing what’s at stake, we’ve got bigger problems than just basketball,” Butler said.
Asked about making a decision whether to play or not to play with so much at stake, he said, “
“It’s really hard, but I gotta realize that at the end of the day, it’s my decision, my career. So I have to listen to my body, go out there knowing I can go 100 percent, no matter for how many minutes it’s going to be for. I don’t want to favor anything. I want to know I can go out there and play.”