Jimmy Butler out with toe injury

DENVER -- Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler will miss a six-game road trip and is week-to-week after an MRI exam revealed he has a sprained right big toe, or turf toe, the team announced Wednesday.

Butler injured the toe in a victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday and was held out of practice Tuesday.

"It's part of the game," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said before Wednesday's practice. But we have more than enough. I've been pleased with our bench play. So the guys that are called upon, they have to be ready.

Butler, 24, has averaged 11.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals -- all career highs -- in nine games. Kirk Hinrich or Mike Dunleavy Jr. likely will start in his place when the Bulls open their circus trip, a six-game swing that begins Thursday against the Denver Nuggets.

Thibodeau said he has not decided whether Hinrich or Dunleavy will start but has confidence his team will continue to thrive in Butler's absence. Thibodeau said he has not spoken to Butler yet, but this is just the second injury the Marquette alum has endured in his pro career. He missed a chunk of preseason because of knee soreness.

Thibodeau did not want to speculate how long Butler may be out but he did acknowledge that Butler will continue to wear a walking boot for the foreseeable future while trying to get the swelling out of his foot.

"It's a sprained toe, turf toe, so we'll see where he is in a week or two," Thibodeau said.

Derrick Rose said Tuesday the team would take a hit if Butler was lost for an extended period.

"Jimmy is someone we're definitely going to miss, especially with his energy and defense, and he's been knocking down shots," Rose said. "But the way our team is, if one guy goes down, the other guy's got to step up and do a great job. And that's Mike Dunleavy, Kirk, myself when I play the 2, and we just got to fill in for him."

Thibodeau is disappointed because it looked as if Butler was finally hitting his stride.

"He was playing great at the start of training camp and then got hurt," Thibodeau said. "And then got hurt and missed a significant amount of time. And then had a hard time finding his rhythm again and has been playing really well. He's put an inordinate amount of time in working on his shooting, coming in every night, and has really shot the ball well the last three or four games. But he knows what he has to do. He'll be fine."