Minutes after scoring 53 points in the Bulls’ 115-111 comeback win over the 76ers, star shooting guard Jimmy Butler’s back finally gave out after he used it to carry his team all season.
“The pain is unreal!” Butler shouted as he fell to the floor of the Wells Fargo Center’s visiting team’s locker room. “I knew this would happen eventually, but there was no way I could prepare for it.”
With former MVP Derrick Rose again shelved by injury and star center Pau Gasol’s ailing Achilles and shoulder preventing him from making the trip, Butler knew he had to step up, even if it meant paying the price with a major injury of his own later.
“I’m happy to carry this team even if it means a terrible back injury like this,” said Butler, clinging to his legs in the fetal position on the floor as the team’s training staff prepared to give him a massive shot of cortisone. “Last season, Coach Thibs ran me into the ground 47 minutes a game, so I’m used to the abuse.”