Jimmy Butler returning for Timberwolves against Lakers

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Jimmy Butler has been itching to return to the Timberwolves, and they need him – badly.

He’s back, maybe just in time to save their season.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler is planning to return to Minnesota’s lineup Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers to begin his comeback from February knee surgery, according to two people familiar with Butler’s decision.

Minnesota has gone 8-10 since Butler injured his knee, falling into a tie with the Nuggets for eighth place in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves badly want to end a 13-year postseason drought, and Butler – even if not at full strength – should help. He’s Minnesota’s best player and just so important to this team, particularly defensively.

The Lakers, without their own draft picks, are still competitive. Butler could make the difference in Los Angeles.

Minnesota should win its penultimate game, hosting the tanking Grizzlies, regardless. But Butler could be huge in the finale against Denver. The Nuggets barely beat the Butler-less Timberwolves last night.

This is an exciting time for Butler to return. Hopefully, it doesn’t come with negative long-term ramifications.