Wolves' Budinger still not fully back to form

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 2, 2014 - 5:57 AM

After two knee surgeries in 11 months, the Wolves forward sees his jumping ability slowly returning.

For one moment Sunday night in Brooklyn, Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger’s body turned back the clock to the way he used to leap and, if all goes well this summer, previewed how he will be once again.

In a flash, Budinger rose between two converging defenders at the rim and threw down the kind of dunk he delivered routinely before he underwent not one but two surgeries within 11 months of each other, intended to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee.

Budinger returned late last season and played 23 games four months after he originally injured his left knee during a game at Chicago in November 2012. He spent last summer rehabilitating the knee but needed another surgery in October, this time to remove a portion of the meniscus after he experienced pain and swelling during workouts just before training camp.

This time, he missed the season’s first 34 games and returned in a Jan.8 game against Phoenix.

In many respects, he’s still waiting for his body to completely come back.

“One of the toughest things I’ve ever experienced,” he said. “It’s a grind coming off an injury, a double injury. And trying to come back midseason, it’s very challenging, very grueling on my body. You’re just working through all the aches in your body and you get in the games, and mentally, offensively, I’m getting the shots I like, all the shots I’ve made throughout my career, and I’m missing ’em. It’s just frustrating.”

Wolves coach Rick Adelman has tried to remain patient with a player he has coached both in Houston and Minnesota, steadily giving him playing time mostly off the bench even when Budinger’s body hasn’t always responded to the opportunity. Even that has had its limits, though: Budinger didn’t play at all in a home game against Phoenix last week, then the next night played nearly 25 minutes in a game at Memphis.

Budinger, in his fifth NBA season, is shooting 38.5 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from three-point range and is averaging 6.4 points in 38 games. His scoring average and field-goal percentage are career lows.

“He’s coming along,” said Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio, who came back from a different kind of knee surgery himself. “It’s hard when you have an injury like he had, and then like two in a row. Getting your legs back is hard, but he’s doing a great job.”

Adelman emphasized the compounding nature of a second surgery in such a relatively short period of time.

“It’s not just his shooting, his activity is just not the same,” Adelman said. “It’s to be expected because it’s not just the one surgery, it’s two of them. Next year is where you’ll see where he’s really at because he just needs a whole summer to rehab without any other setbacks. It’s going to be a big summer for him.”

The first time Budinger came back from knee surgery, it was late in the season after he had participated in a training camp and an entire preseason before playing the season’s opening games. This time, he started late after missing the season’s first three months, including all of October.

“It’s just different, different circumstances,” said Budinger, coming off scoring 12 points in 27 minutes in Monday’s home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. “This one was tougher, just because the first one I got used to the team and this time I wasn’t able to get any chemistry with the guys because I was gone straight from the beginning. That was tough on me, too.

“Coach has been very helpful with me, just trying to keep me positive, saying it’s going to take a complete season to get your body back, get the legs back right, get the knee back right. So I’m just trying to grind out the season and help the team as much as I can. I’m just trying to get back to where I was playing-wise.”

  • related content

  • Wolves Dieng named NBA West Rookie of the Month

    Tuesday April 1, 2014

    Wolves rookie became double-double machine when he replaced injured Nikola Pekovic as starter

  • Gameday preview: Memphis at Wolves

    Tuesday April 1, 2014

    wolves gameday7 P.M. VS. MEMPHIS • TARGET CENTER • FSN, 830-AMPreview: The Grizzlies end a five-game trip Wednesday, having gone...

  • Wolves forward Chase Budinger drove past San Antonio's Tim Duncan to score.

  • wolves budinger xxxxxxxxx

    Up next:

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to be the next Twins manager?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close