Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler has been ruled out for Thursday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but still plans to travel to All-Star weekend in New York, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters on Thursday.
Butler's status for Sunday's All-Star game, the first of his career, is undetermined. He declined comment to reporters on Thursday.
Butler has a strained shoulder and was ruled day-to-day after an MRI on Wednesday. The fourth-year guard will pull out of the All-Star Skills Challenge, Shams Charania of RealGM reports. Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder will replace him in the contest.
Tony Snell will start in Butler's place for Thursday's game against the Cavaliers. The Bulls have lost both of their games to the Cavaliers this season; the most recent one came Jan. 19 when the Bulls lost 108-94 without Joakim Noah and Mike Dunleavy. In the first meeting with the Cavs — the second game of the season on Oct. 31 — Butler sat out and the Bulls lost 114-108 in overtime.
Guard Kirk Hinrich will also miss Thursday's game — his third straight — with a toe injury.
Butler leads the Bulls in scoring with 20.4 points per game and has also averaged 39.3 minutes per game, four more than any of his teammates. He is also averaging career highs in rebounds (5.8 per game) and assists (3.2).
The Bulls (33-20) enter Thursday in third place in the Eastern Conference, 9.5 games behind the conference-leading Atlanta Hawks. Chicago has won three straight and six of its last 10.
On Wednesday, New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis announced that he will skip the All-Star Game due to a right shoulder sprain. Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki was named his replacement by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
- Mike Fiammetta