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  • Writer's pictureRandon Hall, MD

Timberwolves - Jimmy Butler Tears Meniscus, Should be Ready for Playoffs

Jimmy Butler's Plant and PIVOT

Jimmy Butler, small forward for the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, sustained a knee injury on February 23, 2018, that seemed relatively innocent. After grabbing his own rebound, he pivoted and pushed off with his right leg and collapsed to the ground. Clutching his knee, one could only wonder if he had sustained a serious injury. With a non-contact pivoting injury the major concern is a torn ACL or torn meniscus. After being helped off the court, Butler was eventually evaluated and taken for an MRI of the knee. MRI findings reportedly showed a tear of the meniscus, a diagnosis with a much better prognosis for the future than a torn ACL.


As of writing this post, Jimmy Butler has had surgery, and return is listed as indefinite. As discussed in my post about meniscal tears, the recommendation for a meniscus tear varies depending upon the type of tear, location of the tear and the age of the patient. If the tear is large and the patient is younger, the surgeon will likely attempt to repair the meniscus and allow it to heal. On the other hand, if the tear is small or the patient is older, then the surgeon will likely remove the torn part of the meniscus. The procedure for removal of the torn portion of the meniscus is called a meniscectomy. My guess is that Butler had a meniscectomy performed, which should significantly shorten his return to play, as compared to a repair. Aside from any unforeseen complications, chances are he will return somewhere in the 4 to 6 weeks range, which means he will be ready for the playoffs.

Meniscal Tear


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