Michael Beasley might have been struggling with his shot. But he was also starting and playing more minutes than anyone on the Timberwolves roster not named Kevin Love.
So, then, how will Beasley be replaced at small forward?
A magnetic resonance imaging exam confirmed Beasley suffered a right mid-foot strain in Friday's loss to Cleveland at Target Center. Beasley did not make the trip to Washington, where the Wolves will begin a back-to-back-to-back stretch Sunday still trying to find some semblance of rhythm on offense.
The good news is that guard J.J. Barea (hamstring) felt good enough to practice Saturday and did accompany the team to D.C. and could play Sunday.
So, who will replace Beasley in the starting lineup? "We're going to talk about that," coach Rick Adelman said. "I don't know who it's going to be right now. It will be either Wesley [Johnson] or Derrick [Williams]. We'll decide [Monday]."
Much would apparently depend on whether Adelman wanted to go with a smaller or bigger lineup. Johnson, who has been struggling as the team's starting shooting guard, would fit the former, Williams the latter. But each decision has issues.
For example: Should Adelman decide to start Johnson at small forward -- which some feel could kick-start his game -- who would take over at shooting guard? Should Barea be available, would Adelman then put Ricky Rubio in the starting backcourt with Luke Ridnour?
"I'll consider anything at this point," Adelman said. "I haven't thought about it that far. But, you know, we'll figure it out as we go."A Williams dilemma
And if Williams were the answer, that would mean abandoning -- or at least significantly altering -- Adelman's desire to have the rookie concentrate on just the power forward position.
"He's just going to have to play some [at small forward]," Adelman said. "We don't have a lot of people. Him or [Anthony] Tolliver. You have three straight games, and you have no time, really, to go through anything. It's what everybody faces. [Williams] is young, but if he plays that spot, you have to make the adjustment."
Adelman needs to find some way to get Johnson going. The second-year player has yet to become part of the fourth-quarter mix. And, except for his 6-for-6 performance against San Antonio on Monday, Johnson has struggled both with shot selection and his shot falling; he is hitting only 37.5 percent of his shots.
Might putting Johnson at small forward help him? "I hope so," Adelman said. "I just think our team is really struggling offensively right now when we don't run pick and rolls."Wanted: practice
Adelman is clearly frustrated with the lack of practice time afforded by the condensed schedule. For example, now he has to alter his starting lineup for a stretch of three games in three nights. Indeed, Adelman said this is the biggest challenge of his career.
"No doubt," he said. "The stuff we're running, we're not getting anything to what I'm normally used to seeing. I truly belive it's just we haven't had a chance to drill it in 'em. We've had such a short time."
Adelman said he has questioned whether he overloaded his players.
One big problem is a lack of players with ball-handling skills. The return of Barea could help that situation.Etc.
• Rubio said he is seeing different defensive tactics employed against him now that teams have had a chance to scout him for a couple weeks. "After two or three games they know me better and they know which are my weaknesses and they try to do what that have to do to win," he said. "I have to improve."