AP NEWS

Jimmy Butler available to play against Nuggets

April 6, 2018

FILE - In this June 29, 2017 file photo, Jimmy Butler speaks as Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau, left, looks on during an introductory news conference in Bloomington, Minn. Butler is nearing a return to action, with four critical games to go for the team in the regular season. He told reporters after practice on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 that he's "this close" to being back on the court. Coach Thibodeau said Butler was a full participant in the workout. His surgically repaired right knee would be evaluated again on Wednesday. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)

DENVER (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler is available to play in a pivotal matchup against Denver after missing 16 games with a right knee injury.

He wasn’t listed in the starting lineup Thursday night against the Nuggets, who are right on the Timberwolves’ heels in the playoff chase.

Butler recently told reporters he was “this close” to a return, but was considered doubtful for the game.

Butler has been out since suffering a knee injury on Feb. 23 at Houston. He had surgery two days later to repair the meniscus and has steadily been working his way back.

The Wolves are 8-8 since Butler was sidelined. He’s averaging 22.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

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