CHICAGO (AP) Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler plans to play in the NBA All-Star game, but has dropped out of the skills challenge because of a strained right shoulder.
Agent Happy Walters says Butler expects to play in the game on Sunday. A first-time All-Star, Butler is averaging 20.4 points and 5.8 rebounds.
He aggravated the shoulder during the first half of Tuesday's win over Sacramento and sat out the final two quarters.
The Bulls ruled him out for Thursday's game against surging Cleveland, a blow as they try to hang on to the Central division lead. They began the day a half-game ahead of the surging Cavaliers, who had won 14 of 15.
Guard Kirk Hinrich will miss his third straight game because of a left turf toe injury.