PHOENIX – Robert Covington has insisted the right knee that caused him to miss a game against Portland on Dec. 9 is fine.
Coach Tom Thibodeau also said Covington is fine physically.
Covington's short absence knocked him off a rhythm that had Covington playing at a high level and that could be one reason why the Wolves' defense slacked on their 0-4 road trip that ended with a 107-99 loss to Phoenix on Saturday at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
"He's fine in terms of health but when you're out for five days you're out of rhythm," Thibodeau said. "That's where I think he is. We just have to let him work through it and get him going. ... He's one of those guys, you can tell when he's in rhythm. ... Physically now he's good and he's just got get his basketball rhythm back.
"He's been around so he'll get his rhythm back fairly quickly. It's unfortunate it came at the time it did."
Covington didn't quite see it that way after the game.
"The injury, it's not that serious," Covington said. "I still [have] the same attention to details there. It's just the way things have transpired; collectively it takes away what we've been doing."
They may have differing opinions on just where Covington is physically but they agreed on the state of the Wolves' defense, which is in need of repair. The Wolves gave up a season high 141 points to the Kings on Wednesday before allowing Devin Booker free reign in scoring 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting while dishing out seven assists. The Wolves will see the Kings again Monday at Target Center.
Thibodeau pointed to the Wolves missing Taj Gibson as one reason why the Wolves allowed 15 second-chance points to the Suns while Covington said the Wolves needed to regain the motivation they were playing with after he and Dario Saric arrived last month from Philadelphia.
"We got a little bit too comfortable but being in this league, you can't get comfortable," Covington said. "The urgency we played with the first few games, we haven't played with the last two especially. The attention to detail has to get a little more. We just got to amp it up a little more to get that edge back."
Offense goes stagnant
The Wolves had a weird fourth quarter against Phoenix in which Derrick Rose was the only player to score until 1 minute, 20 seconds remained in the game. The Wolves had their worst three-point shooting night of the season (7-for-35, 20 percent).
Thibodeau wasn't sure if the threes were ill-advised — he said he'd have to go back and watch the film — but the Wolves didn't capitalize when the Suns tried double teaming Karl-Anthony Towns after Towns had 21 of his 28 points in the first half.
"We had wide-open threes that we missed," Thibodeau said. "Maybe we should've driven the ball more, but the big thing is if when we're not shooting well we have to be able to count on our defense and rebounding."