"We're happy, excited," coach Eddie Jordan said before tipoff against the Cleveland Cavaliers. "He's had two good practices, and we'll see how it goes."
Butler, who turned 28 Thursday, was originally diagnosed with a strained hip flexor, but an MRI discovered a small labral tear of the left hip joint. The injury also caused Butler to miss the All-Star game.
For the Cavaliers, Ben Wallace returned after missing Wednesday night's loss to New Jersey because of back spasms. LeBron James, who had a knee-on-knee collision with Vince Carter in Wednesday's game, also was in the lineup.
"They've been better," James said. "But I'm playing."