Now, though, all that seems iffy. Butler has an agent, but he is obviously unable to work out for teams. He also missed the Portsmouth Invitational last month, where NBA scouts judge senior talent on a broader scale.
But Butler remains hopeful.
"I'm not really in the loop on most of that stuff, but what I hear is nothing but positives,'' Butler said. "Teams have called my trainers and asked me to fill out things. My agent went to Portsmouth and talked to pretty much every single NBA scout and they all told him not to worry about it, that I'll be drafted. And that's not bad at all.''
Almost every player's draft stock is in flux right now, though. With seven weeks remaining before the draft, a lot of things can change for both Butler and the teams selecting , including what teams need, how Butler's rehab goes and how other players fare in workouts. Butler understands that.
"By the end of the day, things will change. They always do,'' Butler said. "One day I'm not running, the next day I am. But if things don't work out in the draft, then I'll just find another route.''
Because things will change, those mock drafts are generally not worth the time it takes to invent them. Still, it is worth noting that after Butler's injury he either slipped down or disappeared all together. Again, those doing the mock drafts aren't actually drafting anyone, and teams could have a far different perspective on Butler. But it is a virtual certainty that anyone considering him as a possible first-rounder before the injury is not doing so now, not with guaranteed money at stake.
"You can't help but look at the reality of the situation, which in my case was that I had worked myself into something and then I lost it,'' Butler said. "But I always look at the positives of everything. No, I'm not going to get guaranteed money right off the bat, but even if I just go and get a one-year contract and work hard and they keep me, then I get guaranteed money the next year. It's all up to me.''
And so Butler is taking the bull by the horns. He's doing his rehab and staying positive and just waiting to see what happens.
He has come to grips with it all, too.
"Oh, yeah. That happened after about two days of crying,'' Butler said. "It happened and I'm past it and I know what I need to do.''
"I'm just attacking the rehab and going after it. There are some things that you can't do and that's tough for me. I've never been hurt and I keep hearing all the things that I'm not supposed to do. It kind of cripples you a little bit in the head because I've never been told I can't do something.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.