NBA: Jimmy Butler sidelined

CHICAGO (AFP) – Chicago Bulls scoring leader Jimmy Butler will be sidelined for up to six weeks with a sprained left elbow, the struggling NBA club said.

The team’s announcement that Butler’s MRI exam showed a sprained ulnar ligament and small bone impaction injury adds Butler to an injury list that includes former NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose and forward Taj Gibson, nursing a sore left ankle.

Butler, who has started 55 games for the Bulls, is averaging 20.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals a game for Chicago in a league-leading 38.9 minutes a game.

The injury came Sunday when Butler collided with DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, who beat the Bulls 96-86.

The Bulls, 37-23, lead the Central division and own the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, one loss more than Toronto and one loss less than the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Last Friday, Rose underwent right knee surgery and will be sidelined from four to six weeks and just hours later, Gibson suffered his injury in a victory over Minnesota.

In the worst-case scenarios, both Rose and Gibson would struggle to return in time for the Bulls’ final regular-season games, the finale coming April 15 at home against Eastern Conference-leader Atlanta.