Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Roy, Pekovic and Barea out for tonight's game

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves injury report, Wolves pre-game, Wolves news Updated: November 14, 2012 - 12:30 PM

 Well, the Iron Nine will ride again tonight.

Center Nikola Pekovic (ankle), guard Brandon Roy (right knee) and guard J.J. Barea (mid-foot sprain) are all ruled out for tonight’s game against Charlotte at Target Center, which leaves coach Rick Adelman the same nine guys who finished Monday’s game in Dallas.

“They’re all hurt, I don’t know what else to tell you guys,” Adelman said in a rare meeting with the media after the morning shoot. “As far as I know we have nine players. That’ s it.”

If Adelman sounded a bit exasperated, well, I think he was. Both with his injury situation {“I’ve never had this many injuries at one time,” he said) and with the constant questions about said injury situation.

Here’s how it breaks down: Once again Malcolm Lee will start at the shooting guard, with Alexey Shved backing him up off the bench. Greg Stiemsma will start at center, with Lou Amundson will back him up. That means a starting lineup of Stiemsma, Lee, Luke Ridnour, Derrick Williams and Andrei Kirilenko, with Amundson, Shved, Dante Cunningham and guard Will Conroy available off the bench.

“It’s not different than the last game, you know,” Adelman said. “We had 10 guys (in Dallas), and Pek got hurt, and we had to adjust and move on in the fourth quarter. And that’s what we have to do tonight. You can’t worry about who’s not here. You have to worry about the players who are playing right now.”

The good news, Adelman said, is that the defensive effort – and effectiveness – has not dipped. Lee, especially, has played some good perimeter defense.

But, without Pekovic from the start, the problem tonight will be scoring points. Adelman said he has dramatically scaled back what the team is running on the offensive end as the injuries have piled up.

“We’re trying to simplify it and go with the people we have,” he said. “Go to their strengths. That’s all, really, you can do. {But} you just can’t keep losing people. Eventually attrition is going to set in, and that’s really true. We’re going to have to have guys step up tonight offensively, because if Pek can’t play, that’s a big, big hole in our lineup. He’s a guy who got us going against Dallas, so that hurts us. That’s where guys have to step up.”

Both Pekovic and Barea were on the court for the shootaround. Adelman reiterated Pek’s contention that the injury isn’t serious.

Much will be known about the status of Roy, Pekovic and Barea after practice tomorrow. But there is a chance one or more will not be available for Friday’s game against Golden State.

“I keep hoping it will be Friday that we get some guys back,” Adelman said. “But I can’t tell you that. If I anticipate that I might be disappointed. … After {Friday} we have a four-day break. So we’ll have to try to win these two games at home with the people we have and hopefully we’ll start getting guys back.”

That means a lot of minutes for those healthy enough to play.

“I played a couple years with Utah when we had a lot of guys out,” Kirilenko said. “But it seems strange anyway. You prefer to have everybody on the floor, and right now we’re a bit shorthanded. But we kind of – I don’t know why – we figure out the way to keep winning games. So let’s stay on that pace. I like that pace.”

 

--Kevin Love announced his fifth annual coat drive. Love will purchase tickets for the team’s games Dec. 26 and Dec. 29 as a thank you to those who donate coats. The drive begins today and end Dec. 12. Fans will receive a pair of tickets to each game for each coat they donate – with a limit of four tickets per family on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last.

Here is where fans can donate coats: At the Target Center box office; and at Comcast offices in Brooklyn Park, Inver Grove Heights, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Richfield, Roseville and St. Paul.

 

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