“I know the first thing I heard from people right away was, ‘Here we go again,’ ” Saunders said. “You need to understand something: In the NBA, in pro football, injuries are part of what our leagues are about. When you get great athletes with great abilities to jump 40 inches off the floor and land on one foot, you’re going to have some injuries. As organizations, what you try to do to minimize injuries is put a team together that has depth.”
With Budinger out, the Wolves still have Corey Brewer, Derrick Williams, rookie Shabazz Muhammad and power forward Dante Cunningham who can play that small-forward position. Training-camp invitees Robbie Hummel and Othyus Jeffers also will compete for a job at that spot.
Small forward is the only question mark in a Wolves starting lineup that has Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic set at the other four positions, and it was already that way before Budinger’s setback.
Now Brewer and Williams are the most likely candidates for that job.
“I said from the beginning our goal was balance our roster and when you do that, you gain depth,” Saunders said. “Maybe from Chase’s perspective and from ours it hurts a little bit, but it’s an opportunity for other players. It’s an opportunity for Corey, for Shabazz, for Derrick.
“You move forward as a group. We might be disappointed, but it doesn’t change where we’re going.”