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Jimmy Butler (Knee) Cleared for Contact

Jimmy Butler is inching closer to a return at a time the Wolves really need him. 

With the playoffs just around the corner, Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler is getting close to a return. 

Butler has been cleared for contact and participated in full-contact drills on Friday in Dallas, head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters. 

Butler had surgery to repair injured cartilage in his right knee on February 25 but no timeline was given for his return. It was initially feared the non-contact knee injury could have been a torn ACL but further examination revealed an injury to the meniscus. 

The Wolves (44–33) are locked in a tight Western Conference playoff race with five games to play in the regular season. They haven’t clinched a playoff spot but are 2 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers and Nuggets, who are on the outside looking in. Minnesota is currently fifth in the conference but only a half game behind the Spurs for fourth and the right to host a first-round playoff series. 

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Butler, a four-time All Star, is averaging 22.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game this season.