Ricky Rubio

Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune


Rubio, Barea out for Wolves preseason finale

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA
  • Star Tribune
  • December 21, 2011 - 2:08 PM

The Timberwolves flew to Milwaukee Tuesday evening for Wednesday's preseason finale against the Bucks without their backcourt tandem of Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea.

Neither player practiced on Monday or Tuesday. Neither will play against the Bucks.

Rubio turned his ankle during the second quarter of Saturday's preseason opener against Milwaukee and went to the locker room briefly to have his ankles re-taped but returned to play in the second half.

Barea also got hit in the thigh that night.

Wolves coach Rick Adelman said neither injury is serious.

"I just think they want to be precautionary right now," he said of the team's training staff.

He said both players will get treatment and rest so they can get healthy and practice by week's end in preparation for Monday's season opener against Oklahoma City.

Malcolm in the middle

Adelman said he hopes players who played little Saturday will get more minutes in Milwaukee.

That particularly includes rookie combo guard Malcolm Lee and 35-year-old veteran Bonzi Wells. Both are expected to see more time because Rubio and Barea will be absent.

"In this league, whenever anybody goes down, it's about opportunity -- and Malcolm gets it," assistant coach Terry Porter said. "This is a great opportunity for a rookie."

Crowded roster

Lee played fewer than five minutes Saturday. Wells played fewer than nine minutes and missed all three shots he attempted.

"I think Bonzi can help us, he has shown he can play," Adelman said of a shooting guard who played for him in Houston and Sacramento but who hasn't played in the NBA since 2008. "It's just we're up against numbers-wise. I haven't talked to [team president] David [Kahn] about it. I'm going to try and give [Wells] an opportunity to play on the court longer than he played the last game. He's certainly a guy who can play in this league. I just don't know if we're going to have enough room."

The problem: The Wolves have 15 players with guaranteed contracts. If they keep Wells, someone will have be traded or waived and paid.

One step forward ...

After praising his players for Monday's spirited practice, Adelman wasn't as impressed with Tuesday's workout.

"They have to keep it up," he said. "Yesterday was a good day. Today wasn't as good. That's the type of thing we're going to be fighting. They have to come back with the same energy level every day for us to get anything done."

Hayes returning?

Adelman spoke with Chuck Hayes after he failed a physical exam because of a heart condition that prompted Sacramento to void a four-year, $21 million free-agent contract he had just accepted.

Adelman said Hayes hopes the condition can be resolved so he can play.

The Wolves pursued Hayes -- who played for Adelman in Houston -- in free agency. When asked if he'd still have interest in signing Hayes if he's healthy, Adelman said, "I didn't even talk to him about that. I'm more worried about him. It has to be a real blow to him because he had never had anything like that before. To finally get his contract and have that happen is really tough on him. He was just shocked."


• The Chicago Bulls on Tuesday reached agreement with guard Derrick Rose on a five-year, $94 million contract extension. That's about $11 million more total that the Wolves could offer Kevin Love. Rose achieved a new category of bonus for players under their rookie contracts because he was named MVP last season. When asked if he'd give Love a five-year maximum offer by a Jan. 25 deadline, Kahn said he won't negotiate in the media.

• About 1,500 tickets remain for Monday's season opener against Oklahoma City.

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