Minnesota Timberwolves Ricky Rubio (9) and Kevin Love (42).
Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune
Scramble for healthy players leaves Wolves short vs. Spurs
- Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD
- Star Tribune
- April 8, 2014 - 1:34 PM
The Wolves were going to practice Monday. Really, that was the plan. Unfortunately coach Rick Adelman didn’t have enough healthy players.
“I don’t know who the healthy people are,” Adelman said, only half-joking.
For the record, forward Kevin Love will return after missing Saturday’s game in Orlando because of back spasms. But forwards Shabazz Muhammad and Chase Budinger are out for the final six games of the season. Center Nikola Pekovic’s status for the rest of the season remains in question due to his sore ankle, and it appears guard Kevin Martin could miss a third straight game with a sore foot.
Add in the uncertainty of forward Dante Cunningham and his legal situation and Adelman could have as few as nine players available for Tuesday’s game against San Antonio.
Budinger played very well Friday in Miami but sprained his ankle in the first minute of Saturday’s game at Orlando. Muhammad left the Miami game in the second quarter with what was diagnosed as a sprained MCL in his right knee. He will not need surgery.
“It’s an opportunity for people to show what they can do,” Adelman said. “Just like [Gorgui Dieng] has. In spite of the injuries you have to go out and compete.’’
Love missed Saturday’s loss in Orlando with back spasms after playing nearly 45 minutes in Friday’s double-overtime victory in Miami. But he said he would play Tuesday.
“This week will be tough,” said Love of a schedule that has the Wolves playing three home games in four days. “But we’re going to fight through it. We’re fighting that battle of attrition, but we’ve got to make it fun.’’
Adelman said there is a chance the team could sign a free agent before Tuesday’s game. One candidate would be guard/forward Othyus Jeffers, who was with the team in training camp. Jeffers is currently playing for the Iowa Energy of the D-League.
Tuesday’s game was originally scheduled for Dec. 4 in Mexico City, an event spoiled when a generator malfunction filled the arena with smoke. Adelman called that night one of the strangest in his long coaching career.
“It was really weird,” he said. “I never experienced that before.”
Adelman isn’t pleased that the reschedule date created a back-to-back. Indeed, the Wolves play their final six games in a span of nine nights.
Meanwhile, the team has been working hard to fill the arena with fans. Originally the game was not, of course, a part of the team’s season ticket package.
“It’s been a challenge,” said Ryan Tanke, senior vice president and chief revenue officer for the team.
Tanke said the Wolves first approached their season-ticket holders, and about 50 percent of them bought tickets for the game. That plus some work on group sales and some local marketing should get some fans into the seats. “I hope we can get 10,000 into the building [Tuesday],” he said. “The Twins not playing could help walk-up.’’
One for the books
How impressive was Friday’s double-overtime victory in Miami?
Ask Adelman. “The Miami game was probably the best one we’ve had since I’ve been here,” he said. “I mean, it was a game where they had us down. A lot of calls went against us. And we kept staying with it and ended up winning the game.”
Love said he plans on treating his teammates to the Twins game Thursday afternoon.
© 2014 Star Tribune