MIAMI - On Monday, Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio left open the door ever so slightly that he might play Tuesday in Miami -- the second of back-to-back games -- depending on how he felt.
And coach Rick Adelman closed it.
"After you guys asked me, I squelched that really quick," Adelman told reporters before Tuesday's game. "There's no sense doing that. You saw him last night. He struggled in the second game back with his timing and everything else. There's just no sense to push him at this point, especially when we start having days off between games now.
"Let's see how he reacts from there. I just don't see what it would do for us to play him in back-to-back games."
Rubio was on the team's 13-man active roster Tuesday and sat on the bench wearing his warmups and uniform, but didn't play.
Rubio's absence against the NBA defending champs left Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved as the team's only healthy guards as Malcolm Lee, Josh Howard, Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger all remain out.
"We don't have a fourth guard," Adelman said. "We really don't."
Adelman did keep both center Nikola Pekovic and power forward Kevin Love in his starting lineup Tuesday, though.
Pekovic hurt his back Monday in Orlando and didn't decide until 30 minutes before opening tip -- after he had treatment and warmed up -- that he could play.
Love hyperextended an arm and hurt a shoulder in Orlando, but played and outrebounded the Heat in the first half by himself, 14-10. But the hurting arm followed that broken hand from October and Friday's injured thumb.
"I guess I should start expecting something every game," he said.
Nationally known now
Tuesday's game was televised nationally by NBA-TV as part of its Internet-voting Fan Night on Tuesday nights. Fans worldwide chose the Wolves-Heat over Celtics-Bulls, 40 percent to 39 percent.
Thursday's game against Oklahoma City will be on TNT -- the Wolves' first appearance since the 2006-07 season, back when Kevin Garnett played for them -- with a special start time of 6 p.m. so it fits into the doubleheader time slot.
Former Wolves play-by-play guy Kevin Harlan and analysts Reggie Miller and Chris Webber will call the game against a Thunder team that has won 11 consecutive games.
In the holiday spirit
They call Adelman a "player's coach." But just what does that mean?
Well, here's one little thing: Because of the team's hectic travel schedule recently, he plans on giving it Friday off after Thursday's game so players can use the day to go Christmas shopping if they so choose. He then plans to practice them thoroughly on Saturday before they fly to New York City for Sunday's game against the Knicks.
"Sometimes you have to look at the whole thing," Adelman said.
• Now that he's "international icon Ricky Rubio" -- or so says his Foot Locker backyard-wrestling commercial the Wolves are handling their popular point guard's media requests this way on the road: He will answer questions in English at morning shootarounds and answer in Spanish before games.
• Barea has five stitches over his right eye after getting hit by Orlando's Andrew Nicholson on Monday night. "Brutal," he said.
• The "Better Than Anything" cake Josh Howard's mom sent with him on Monday night's flight from Orlando to Miami was a big hit with teammates.
"Ask any of the guys, they loved it," Howard said. "I'm gonna vouch for my mom."