Butler hyperextended his elbow in the third quarter when he ran into a screen set by Clippers forward DeAndre Jordan. He scored 10 points before leaving the game for good with the injury.
It's the latest blow for the Bulls, who are already without point guard Derrick Rose. Rose is expected to miss at least the next four weeks after having surgery on his right knee.
Forward Taj Gibson did not play against the Clippers because of an ankle injury, and Pau Gasol played despite battling an illness. Gasol was mostly ineffective on the offensive end against the Clippers, scoring only four points, but he grabbed 15 rebounds.
"You've just got to find a way to win," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "Doesn't matter who is out. That game was winnable down the stretch and we didn't get it done."
Butler is the team's leading scorer this season, averaging 20.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 55 games.
- Scooby Axson