Jimmy Butler Expects to Return from Knee Injury Before NBA Playoffs

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) reacts to a knee injury on the court as Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) and team trainers hover over him during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Michael Wyke/Associated Press

The Minnesota Timberwolves will apparently receive a major boost for the NBA playoffs.

All-Star Jimmy Butler addressed the media Sunday for the first time since he underwent surgery on his right knee Feb. 25 and said he plans on returning for the postseason, per Kyle Ratke of NBA.com.

“Oh yeah, oh yeah, I plan on doing it,” Butler said. “I can’t give you the exact date, but I want to come back and I want to help. I want to play…I just really want to play in the playoffs. First game, second game, Tuesday, whatever, I just really want to play.”

Minnesota has treaded water at 4-4 since the former Chicago Bull went down with the injury. It occupies the Western Conference’s No. 6 seed.

However, a small winning or losing streak could drastically change its situation. It is just two games behind the fourth-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder but a mere two games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets, who are outside of the postseason picture.

Butler’s return would make the Timberwolves a much more formidable foe for any Western Conference team, considering he is a four-time All-Star who is averaging 22.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists per contest.

He can extend his game beyond the arc (35.6 percent from three-point range) and attack the rim, but his defensive prowess makes him one of the league’s best two-way players as a three-time All-Defensive selection.

Butler frequently guards the opponent’s best player and could find himself in matchups against the likes of James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson or Damian Lillard in a playoff series should Minnesota make it.