WASHINGTON (AP) -All-Star forward Caron Butler appears set to celebrate his birthday with a return to the lineup Thursday for the Washington Wizards.
``Caron is going to be probable, so we add a little 'Tough Juice' to the lineup,'' said coach Eddie Jordan, referring to Butler's nickname. ``And we'll see how it goes.''
Butler has missed 16 straight games and 19 of the last 21 because of a hip injury. He 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.
The Wizards host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, which happens to be the day Butler turns 28. Jordan said Butler will start if able to play.
``I've got a nice rhythm. I've got a couple of practices under my belt. I'm not feeling any symptoms,'' Butler said after Wednesday's practice. ``It's a big day with my birthday. Things seem to be really flowing right now, so tomorrow would be a great game to come back.''
Butler returned to practice Monday. Other than some tightness in the groin after Tuesday's shootaround, he said he's been fine.
``If I wake up tomorrow and feel the same way, I'll definitely be on the court,'' he said.
Butler's return would come none too soon for the banged-up Wizards. Gilbert Arenas (knee) and Etan Thomas (recovering from heart surgery) are practicing but still aren't ready to play.
Antawn Jamison (back strain) and Antonio Daniels (sprained left thumb) were sore after Tuesday's win over Milwaukee, but both are listed as probable for Thursday. Oleksiy Pecherov is expected to return after missing one game with a sore right foot.

Top NBA Public Bets

#1 501 Toronto Raptors  82%
#2 711 Charlotte Hornets  80%
#3 508 Boston Celtics  79%
#4 705 Denver Nuggets  79%
#6 510 Houston Rockets  70%
#8 511 Miami Heat  66%
#9 709 Utah Jazz  65%
Advertisement

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Timberwolves vs. Kings Prediction Will the Kings cover as a home underdog tonight when they host the Timberwolves at 10:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Pacers vs. Rockets Prediction Are the Rockets a good bet to cover as a double-digit home favorite tonight when they host the Pacers at 9:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Heat vs. Mavericks Prediction Will the Heat knock off the Mavericks as a small road favorite tonight when the two teams meet at 8:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Hawks vs. Celtics Prediction With the Celtics playing on tired legs, will their matchup against the Hawks tonight fall under at 7:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Warriors vs. 76ers Prediction Will the 76ers cover as a home underdog versus the Warriors tonight at 7:00PM ET?
Advertisement

NBA Team Pages