The Minnesota Timberwolves are locked in a heated battle to the finish line for the eight teams trying to make the NBA Playoffs and position themselves, those teams obviously not named the Houston Rockets or Golden State Warriors.
They are currently sitting in the No. 8 spot at 40-31, only 1.5 games ahead of the Nuggets in 9th place.
They are trying to make their first postseason appearance since 2004 and are trying to lock down their spot without their best player: Jimmy Butler.
Butler suffered a meniscus injury on February 23 and has been out of action since as he recovers from a minor surgery a few weeks ago.
The original thought was that Butler may return for the playoffs, but now he says he could be back before the end of the regular season.
Here is an excerpt from an AP story after the Wolves loss to the Rockets over the weekend:
“I can’t give you the exact date, but I want to come back and I want to help,” said Butler, who sat courtside during the 129-120 loss Sunday to the Rockets in his first appearance on the bench since he was hurt.
“I have a little bit of time left, but I know my guys are going to stick this thing out and do what they’ve been doing, keep us in this race,” Butler said. “And when I come back, we’ll see what we have left in the tank.”
I know that Minnesota is dying to make the playoffs and could even win a series if they get there, but we have far too many cautionary tales of NBA players coming back too soon from even somewhat minor knee surgeries or injuries and harming or shortening their careers because of it.
Butler has logged a lot of wear and tear in his career and you know Tom Thibodeau won’t ease him back, the Wolves need to be cautious with Butler, even if that causes them a playoff berth.