CHICAGO—The Bulls have been beset by injuries early in the season. They have yet to play a game with an entirely healthy roster: starting shooting guard Jimmy Butler sat out the first two games of the year and Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson both missed Saturday’s game against the Timberwolves after suffering ankle injuries in Friday’s home opener, an overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Now, the Bulls might get a look at their full complement of players. The team announced in a press release on Monday that Rose, Gibson and Butler are all probable for Tuesday night’s matchup against the Orlando Magic at the United Center.
Butler made his season debut in Minnesota on Saturday, scoring 24 points and sinking two game-clinching free throws in a 106-105 victory over the Timberwolves. He sat out the first two games after suffering a sprained thumb during preseason.
“I thought he played very, very well in every aspect of the game,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said of Butler after practice on Monday. “He felt great.”
Gibson sprained his left ankle during the loss to Cleveland, but stayed in the game.
“It just swelled up,” Gibson said. “It was already in pain that game, but I just kept trying to play through it and it just swelled up on me real bad later on that night on the plane. The next morning it was just extremely painful. But that’s a part of it. Just got to try and get through it. Training staff has been icing it, saying the usual things, try and play tomorrow.’’
Thibodeau said Rose participated fully in Monday’s practice. The 2011 league MVP was initially listed in the Bulls’ starting lineup before Saturday’s game but was scratched before tipoff.
All three players are slated to return against the Magic. It will be our first look at a fully healthy version of the team that’s expected to contend for an Eastern Conference championship.