Injuries create an opening for Muhammad to play

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 25, 2014 - 2:21 PM

– That last chance for which Timberwolves forward Shabazz Muhammad has waited all his rookie season finally is here.

The four-month wait took him to Iowa and the NBA’s Development League via Reno, Nev., but it has arrived in at least a modest way the past two games now that Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic and Ronny Turiaf all are out injured.

Martin’s absence has moved Chase Budinger into a starting role at shooting guard. The absences of Pekovic and Turiaf has moved Dante Cunningham into the starting frontcourt, which in turn creates an opening off the bench for Luc Mbah a Moute and Robbie Hummel at backup power forward.

And all that finally has created room at both small forward and shooting guard for Muhammad, who was drafted for his scoring but has seldom played for a Wolves team that has lacked scoring off its bench almost all season.

He averaged 24.5 points in four games played with the D-League’s Iowa Energy in January, then returned to the NBA and sat again until Martin was injured Feb. 7 at New Orleans.

Muhammad’s 22 minutes in Sunday’s 108-97 loss at Portland were a career high. He now has played at least a little in the past six games — his longest stretch this season.

He made just one of eight shots Sunday, but he calls himself better prepared to play after spending a week in the D League.

“I definitely feel more comfortable,” Muhammad said. “I’m just relaxing out there, just taking it easy. It really helps out when you’re on the court because obviously I’m a rookie, so this is by first go at the rodeo in the NBA. That’s something I really try to do: Have no pressure and just relax out there.”

Wolves coach Rick Adelman has turned to Muhammad over Alexey Shved the past two games, looking for more offense the longer Martin remains out.

“He can give us something maybe that we didn’t have with that second group because he can get to the basket,” Adelman said. “He can post up. He’s strong. So give him an opportunity and see what he can do.’ ”

NBA honors Love, again

The NBA on Monday selected Love as the Western Conference’s player of the week for the second time this season.

Love beat out such nominees as Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry and Blake Griffin and received the honor after reaching his first career triple-double (37 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) Saturday at Utah in a week when the Wolves went 2-1.

Love averaged 36.7 points — best in the league last week — and 12.7 rebounds in those three games. Charlotte guard Kemba Walker was named the East’s Player of the Week.

If at first …

Martin flew to Los Angeles to get a second opinion on the fractured thumb on his left shooting hand. He’s hoping the visit will speed the timeline of his return so he can play on this five-game road trip.

He hasn’t played since injuring the thumb Feb. 7 in New Orleans. Pekovic has missed the last 12 games because of ankle bursitis.

“A night like tonight just reminds us we need all our guys back,” Love said after Sunday’s loss. “We need all our depth.”

  • related content

  • Wolves-Phoenix game preview

    Tuesday February 25, 2014

    8 p.m. at Phoenix • FSN, 830-AMPreview: The surprising Suns had won nine of their last 12 before losing 115-112...

  • Ricky Rubio (9) and Shabazz Muhammad of the Minnesota Timberwolves tal...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 13 2nd Qtr 1:10
Pittsburgh 10
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 110 4th Qtr 6:21
New York 103
Philadelphia 83 4th Qtr 4:38
Brooklyn 90
Charlotte 97 4th Qtr 2:10
Atlanta 101
Sacramento 60 3rd Qtr
San Antonio 49
Memphis 44 3rd Qtr
Dallas 57
Tampa Bay 0 1st Prd 12:05
Edmonton 0
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Are you happy to see the Royals in the World Series?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close