For the first time in more than a week Wolves coach Rick Adelman met with his team. The meeting was relatively short, after which Adelman left to be with his wife in the hospital. Adelman did not coach the team in Wednesday’s practice and will not coach them Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers. That much interim coach Terry Porter knows. After Thursday the situation will be re-evaluated.
“It was good for the guys to see him, to have him talk to the guys,” Porter said. “So I’m sure they felt good to have him there, to give them an update on everything.”
Adelman has been away from the team since Jan. 7, when he missed practice. He has missed five games since then and will miss a sixth game Thursday. Adelman did not accompany the team on its recently-concluded four-game road trip, though he did watch the games and has stayed in contact with the coaching staff.
So what was the subject of Wednesday morning’s meeting?
“He talked a little bit about the games, because he’s been watching,” Porter said. “Just saying, ‘This is a tough time, you guys have done a good job of being resilient, and to continue to play together, work for each other and just pull through it.’ “
It has been a difficult stretch for the injury-riddled Wolves, who have lost four straight. But Adelman’s return, however brief, was welcomed by the players.
“He’s just trying to keep us positive,” guard J.J. Barea said. “He told us to stay together. I don’t want to get into details, but it was nice to see him today.”
Said Ricky Rubio: “He said we have to stay together. We’ve been through a lot of stuff this year, there is no excuse to stop now. We’re going to go forward with the players we (have).”
Here are some other notes from today’s practice:
--It was kind of hard for Porter to even conduct the practice, seeing as there were only eight healthy players available. Andrei Kirilenko, Alexey Shved and Lazar Hayward all missed practice due to illness, though Porter said he expected all to be available for Thursday’s game.
That meant that assistant coaches Shawn Respert and Bill Bayno had to jump in so the team could run five-on-five drills. Porter joked how Respert and Bayno were signed to “two-hour deals.” Guard Brandon Roy did not practice either.
--After practice Rubio said he was going to talk with the team’s medical personnel about increasing his playing time. Rubio said he came out of the team’s recent stretch of playing five games in seven nights feeling good. He played a season-high 26:05 in Dallas Monday and he said he wants to play more. It’s unclear whether an increase in playing time would mean he would have no minutes limit at all or if that limit would simply be raised. But Rubio should have an answer before the Clippers game.
--Chase Budinger did some set shots after practice, but is still in the earliest stages of recovering from knee surgery. “If there is a stage one (of recovery), he’s at one,” Porter said. “Or the point-five stage or something.”
--Porter said he and the rest of the staff are at least talking about changing the starting lineup. One possible chance could be having Dante Cunningham – who has started the last six games at power forward with Kevin Love out – perhaps come off the bench with Derrick Williams starting. Cunningham’s minutes have gone up considerably of late and his game has shown a little strain as a result; Cunningham hit on just six of 18 shots in Dallas Monday. But Porter did say he wanted Cunningham to continue to take open shots and that Cunningham has earned his minutes and his starts with strong play at both ends of the court.
--The Wolves announced that Malcolm Lee's two surgeries this week were successful. Monday Lee had surgery to correct right knee cartilage damage in a procedure done by Dr. Jonathan Glashow at Midtown Surgical Center in New York. Wednesday Lee had right hip surgery done by Dr. Bryan Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.