An NBA executive explained to me that the Yahoo Sports’ timeline suggests that the torn part of the meniscus will be “shaved” via arthroscopic surgery, which often leads to a faster recovery, but can lead to pain or complications down the line. The alternative was for Butler to undergo a full repair, which involves sewing the tear together like you might mend ripped jeans. That route would have produced fewer potential complications, but also would have sidelined him the rest of the season.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the ultra-competitive Butler and hard-driving Tom Thibodeau chose this plan because they value the present over the future. In fact, this report will undoubtedly fuel that narrative.
But we don’t know enough about Butler’s injury to say for certain what his options were. A repair isn’t always possible.
Still, regardless of how Butler got here, this will affect the rest of his career. Butler can become an unrestricted free agent next year, when he’ll be 29. How much will teams value him then?
If Butler returns and plays well, especially if he helps Minnesota in the playoffs, that will matter a great deal. But so will Butler’s long-term health outlook.