Written by: Tommaso Vato
The Wolves are having an outstanding season after that Jimmy Butler accepted to reunite with Tom Thibodeau at Minneapolis. Last year the team was very young without any experience but they had a good potential with players like Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. After the arrival of Jimmy, Minnesota improved a lot on defense and had a team that could really compete in the Playoffs.
But in the most important period of the regular season, during the third quarter of T-Wolves vs Rockets, the first game after the All-Star break, the worst thing that could happen to Jimmy Butler and to the Timberwolves happened. Jimmy was trying to shoot the ball when he did an unnatural twist and he fell to the ground in pain. Everyone was scared. Chris Paul said to Jimmy to stay on the ground because the injured player couldn’t even put weight on the foot. He returned to the locker hopping on one foot and he was immediately subject to X-rays that resulted negative.
An MRI revealed a meniscus tear on Jimmy’s right knee. Butler could return in 4-6 weeks according to Yahoo! Sports. So, this rules Butler out until April, just in time for the Playoffs. This injury could’ve been so much worse. In fact, many thought of a torn ACL that would’ve ended Butler’s season.
Even though he can make it for the Playoffs his injury is a big problem for the group led by Thibodeau. Butler is averaging 22.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assist this season. He’s leading the NBA in minutes per game at 37.3 and the Wolves outscored their opponents by 7.8 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor and they are outscored by 8.7 points per 100 possessions when he’s off it. This year the spots for the Playoffs are very close in the Western Conference the 3rd and the 8th position are divided only by 2 games and now without Jimmy Butler, the Wolves are risking if they won’t play well. Before Butler’s injury, the Wolves were the 4th team of the Western Conference with a 37-26 record. At the moment they are 6th with a 38-28 record. The first game without Butler on the court was against the Bulls and these were the starters for Minnesota: Teague, Bjelica, Gibson, Towns, and Wiggins. The Wolves won but now the next games get more competitive. This lineup is looking forward to resisting a tough schedule which includes the Celtics on March 8th.
Now the Timberwolves are on a mission. They need to resist for one month and a half without their main player competing with teams that have the same goal than them: The Playoffs.
This is a big loss for the Timberwolves but I think that they have a great group and they are very competitive. Now this team must prove that they can win even when they’re missing players. This will be the final test of a young team that is surprising everyone so far and now the team must stay together and play as they’ve always done listening to Thibodeau that I’m sure he will lead this team to more victories.