Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler is reportedly nearing a return to the court after suffering a meniscus tear at the end of February.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Butler took part in five-on-five workouts Monday for the first time since the injury. nfl wholesale jerseys There are only four games remaining in the regular season, but he is still reportedly on track to come back before the final game.
Kent Youngblood of the Star-Tribune reported Friday that Butler had been cleared for contact drills, although it was one of several steps in his recovery.
“It’s him being ready to go,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I want him to have confidence in his body that he can go again. So, usually, what happens is you’re doing the on-court stuff. You start with non-contact. Then you phase in the contact and you build up. You start with one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three and then the five-on-five. And, after each step, you have to see how it responds the next day. So far it’s been pretty good.”
Competing in five-on-five work represents a significant step if he can make it through without setbacks.
Minnesota doesn’t return to the court for its next game until Thursday against the Denver Nuggets.
The Wolves are hoping to earn a playoff berth for the first time since 2004, but Butler’s injury has slowed them down. They are 8-8 since losing the four-time All-Star, falling to 44-34 on the season. Entering Monday, the team sits in the No. 7 slot but is just 1.5 games away from missing the playoffs altogether.
With four games separating the fourth-best and 10th-best teams in the Western Conference, nfl jerseys from china the final two weeks will be key.
Adding Butler—who leads the team with 22.2 points per game this year—back to the lineup could help Minnesota stay on the right side of the cutoff.