Bulls’ Jimmy Butler (elbow) hopes to return this week

0:56 | NBA
Bulls' Jimmy Butler could return this week
Tuesday March 17th, 2015

Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler hopes to return from an elbow injury by the end of this week, ESPN’s Nick Friedell reports.

Butler hasn't played since injuring his elbow during a March 1 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Bulls have lost five of their eight games without Butler.

The 25-year-old was selected to his first All-Star Game this season and is a favorite for the Most Improved Player Award. Butler is averaging career highs of 20.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

• MAHONEY: Serge Ibaka’s injury hurts OKC’s balance

Butler is one of several key Chicago players that are dealing with injuries. Point guard Derrick Rose had surgery last month to repair a knee injury, but the team is optimistic that he will be able to return before the playoffs start. Backup power forward Taj Gibson has not played since injuring his ankle in late February, but also could return soon, Friedell reports.

Bulls center Joakim Noah has also been placed on a 32-minute limit for his playing time.

• DOLLINGER: Bulls drop in latest Power Rankings

The Bulls are 40-28 and the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. They are a half-game behind the Raptors for the No. 3 seed and hold a half-game lead over the Wizards for the No. 5 seed.

Chicago hosts the Pacers on Wednesday.

- Paul Palladino

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