Caron Butler collapses to the floor during the first quarter of the Dallas Mavericks' loss to the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night after suffering an apparent knee injury. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters following the game that Butler's injury was "potentially serious." Butler will return to Dallas Sunday for an examination by the team doctor, reports Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News.
Butler joins Dirk Nowitzki (sprained knee), Shawn Marion (thigh) and Rodrigue Beaubois (foot) among the Mavericks' wounded. Nowitzki has been listed as day-to-day since Tusday, but has yet to play since leaving a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 27. The Mavericks have lost all three games since losing Nowitzki.
Marion, Nowitzki's replacement in the starting line-up, missed Saturday's game, and could also miss Sunday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Butler has been a big part of the Mavericks' run with the elite early this season, scoring 15 points a game on 45 percent shooting and four rebounds. His three-point shooting -- 43 percent on almost three attempts per game -- has been an excellent addition at the small forward position, and has helped take pressure off of Nowitzki. Without Butler, should Tuff Juice miss extended time, the Mavericks would likely turn to Marion at small forward, as was the case before and after Dallas acquired Caron last season.
Marion is just 4-22 from three-point range this season, and has shot 33 percent from long-range on his career. Butler is an unrestricted free agent in 2011.