Jimmy Butler suffers apparent knee injury

Minnesota Timberwolves v Chicago Bulls

Jimmy Butler has been a major part of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ success this season.

Joining a core that already included Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, Butler has been a force on both ends of the floor, averaging 22.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists en route to another All-Star appearance.

On Friday, Butler led the T-Wolves into Houston where they took on James Harden, Chris Paul and the Rockets. It was a major opportunity to make a statement to the rest of the NBA. As with any matchup against Harden, Butler was expected to show up in a huge way, especially on defense.

Posting 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal in 25 minutes of that game, Butler was slightly off the mark offensively, going 4-for-14 from the floor, but helped Minnesota stay within striking distance. But, with a few minutes to go in the third quarter, Butler missed a short jump shot, got his own rebound, dumped the ball off to a teammate and then suddenly crumpled to the ground in pain.

He was holding his right knee and clearly was in a lot of pain. Check out the scary play below:

Any non-contact knee injury is never a good sign, as seen multiple times in recent memory.

Butler's teammates, Minnesota’s coaching staff and the team’s trainers quickly crowded around the star, who wasn’t able to put any weight on his leg as he was helped to the locker room.

There was an obvious look of concern on his face as he left the floor. The scene was certainly solemn.

Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania reported that Butler’s x-rays were negative and there’s a general sense of optimism about the severity of the injury. He will undergo an MRI on Saturday. While something serious could show up on the scan, the possibility that he avoided a major issue remains.

Butler has had a gigantic impact on his new team. He leads them in minutes per game, points per game, field goal attempts per game and steals per game, among other categories. Therefore, if he’s expected to miss a lengthy period of time, his void will be immense and catastrophic to the playoff-caliber club. 

It remains to be seen how the situation plays out, but since the Timberwolves franchise is still in search of its first title, losing Butler would be the most recent form of bad luck that the organization has to endure.

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