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Bulls' Jimmy Butler (groin) unable to participate in Team USA camp

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

Butler's groin won't let him participate in Team USA camp.
Jimmy Butler's groin won't let him participate in Team USA camp. (USATSI)

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NBA teams would usually rather their players sit out international play than risk injury in games that don't involve the team's success. You especially see this with veterans or players coming off of injuries. There is so much invested in these players by the organizations that they don't want to risk not having them 100 percent ready for the start of the regular season when it comes around. That's probably why a "slightly straight groin" is going to keep Chicago Bulls' forward Jimmy Butler from participating in the Team USA camp in Las Vegas.

The Bulls tweeted out that an announcement from USA Basketball that Butler won't participate in the Vegas training camp. Even with a slight groin injury, there's no sense in risking further injury to Butler during this camp. They'll allow him to properly heal and continue his off-season training as soon as possible.

It's unlikely Butler would have made the team anyway, considering Team USA camp is full of talented wing players like Kevin Durant, Paul George, Chandler Parsons, and more. But the experience for Butler would have been great to see how he measures up in the camp with other top young players while seeing what else he needs to work on. Many young players have walked away from the Team USA experiences, even just the training camps, with valuable information on what they need to do next.

Butler had a breakout year in 2012-13 when he played in all 82 games in his second season, averaging 8.6 points and 4.0 rebounds while making 46.7 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from 3-point range. Last season, his presence on the court and a contract dispute with Luol Deng allowed the Bulls to ship Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers in-season. Butler's shooting accuracy fell considerably with the extended role, as he made just 39.7 percent from the field and 28.3 percent from downtown. However, his playmaking was solid and his defense was quite good. He started all 67 games he played in during the 2013-14 season.

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