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Bulls’ Jimmy Butler feeling better, but no timetable for return

Updated: January 1, 2014 6:13AM

Guard Jimmy Butler shot a bit at the Berto Center on Friday, but he remains very limited by a turf-toe injury, so there’s no timetable for his return.

‘‘He says he’s feeling a lot better,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. ‘‘He hasn’t done anything [strenuous] on the court, so he has to practice first. The swelling’s down, not close to 100 percent, but we feel good about his improvement. He didn’t do a whole lot, but he’ll travel.’’

Merely accompanying the team to Cleveland after being left in Chicago the last five games brought a smile to Butler’s face.

‘‘I just want to get out there with my guys,’’ Butler said. ‘‘That’s what I love to do. When I can’t even be with them on the road, it just messes me up. I feel like I’m not a part of the team. I just want to feel that emotion even if it’s being on the bench. That’s just who I am. I love this team. I want to be around them.’’

Even Butler, who had expressed confidence about not missing any games right after the injury Nov. 18 against the Bobcats, wasn’t clear on how to describe the painful ailment.

‘‘I don’t know; I’m not the doctor,’’ he said. ‘‘I can only go by what they tell me — turf toe, messed up some ligaments and some muscles, I guess. I’m not 100 percent sure. I just know it really hurt, and it was really swollen.’’

Butler, a big reason the Bulls had a decent playoff run without Derrick Rose last spring, believes all is not lost even though Rose is out for the season.

‘‘We definitely will miss Derrick,’’ Butler said. ‘‘But I feel like we’re still the Chicago Bulls, and we still have a job to do. Derrick’s a great player, but every guy on this roster is an NBA player. As long as you go out there and play hard, you can win a lot of games.’’

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