(CBS) Bulls wing Jimmy Butler won't play tonight against the Cavaliers as he deals with a right shoulder strain that he suffered last Sunday and then aggravated Tuesday, coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Butler earned his first All-Star berth this season, and he'll travel to New York to be part of the festivities this weekend, Thibodeau said. It's unclear if he'll play in the All-Star Game on Sunday evening.
"If he can, he'll participate," Thibodeau said. "I guess we'll have to wait until then."
Butler has dropped out of Saturday's Skills Challenge, but he hopes to play a few minutes in the All-Star Game if possible, reports indicated.
Thibodeau was hopeful that Butler's injury would be "short term."
This will be the second time Butler misses a contest against the Cavaliers this season. He sat oyt Chicago's loss to Cleveland in its home opener at the end of October because he had a thumb injury.
The Bulls will also be without reserve guard Kirk Hinrich tonight as he deals with turf toe. Chicago hasn't been at full strength yet this season in facing Cleveland, which has won both matchups, including a 108-94 victory on Jan. 19.
Without Butler, it will take a terrific effort to defend Cavs star LeBron James, Thibodeau said. Cleveland has won 14 of its past 15 games and trails Chicago by just a half-game for third place in the East.
"You can't guard them individually, you have to guard them with your team," Thibodeau said.
"They're playing as well as anyone in the league."
After scoring a career-high 24 points Tuesday, Bulls reserve wing Tony Snell will likely start tonight in place of Butler.
Butler injured his shoulder when his arm bent awkwardly while reaching for a steal Sunday in Orlando. He then ran into a really hard screen with his right shoulder Tuesday against the Kings.
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