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.

Wolves getting healthier

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves practice news Updated: January 17, 2012 - 6:14 PM

Greetings. Kent Youngblood here. I was at Wolves practice today, and it was nearly a full  house. Luke Ridnour had an excused absence from practice. But point guard J.J. Barea, shooting guard Martell Webster and center Brad Miller all took part in practice.

Now that doesn't mean they're all going to start playing right away. Of the three, Barea is the one I'd look to be in the rotation tomorrow against Detroit. Barea has missed the last three games dealing with a sore left hamstring and a sore left ankle -- Tuesday Barea said it was the hamstring that was the real problem the whole time, not the turned ankle. He pronounced himself ready to go, but Adelman said he'd see what the trainer said tomorrow.

But the news was good on Webster and Miller, both of whom are coming back from surgery and have yet to play this season.

Webster had microdiscectomy surgery Sept. 28 -- his second such surgery in two years. Miller is coming back from microfracture surgery on his left knee performed in mid-May.

After practice Webster, who has been completely cleared to play by his doctor, said he felt little rusty. "Of course," he said. "You play against phantom defense when you're rehabbing. When you have a defender up on you, and he actually puts his hands on you, that changes the dynamic. It's one of those things  you get your rhythm back, knock the rust off and that takes time. But the first day was good.  ... It was good to finally be a part of the team."

Webster said he has been studying film of how Adelman ran his offense in Houston, paying particular attention to how Shane Battier and Kevin Martin operated in the system. And while Webster doesn't know when he will get to play -- it won't be tomorrow -- he is going on the upcoming road trip. Initially, he said, he hopes to affect the team's defense for the better.

Other news to come out of the practice:

--Michael Beasley (foot sprain) and Malcolm Lee (knee surgery) are still not taking part in practice. Beasley is feeling better, and doing some shooting, but isn't ready to return yet.

--Adelman said he liked the physical presence Nikola Pekovic has brought to the Wolves in the last two games. He will continue to get time when the Wolves are dealing with a strong, physical post presence. "He is going to be around the basket," Adelman said. "He sets good, hard picks and he's going to be a physical presence. I thought he made a difference against (Sacramento's DeMarcus) Cousins last night."

--Adelman said he is concerned with the minutes Love is playing. Love ranks first in the league in minutes played per game (39.6 minutes) and has played more than 40 minutes in each of the Wolves' last three games. Problem is, when he takes Love out, the Wolves usually struggle. "I've probably played him more than I'd like," Adelman said. "But ... last night, I took him out for a pretty good stretch, and we lost eight, 10 points really quick. So it's hard."

Love said his body is holding up well. "There are times in the fourth quarter where I'm standing in time outs, my legs feel great, my body feels great," he said. "but I wouldn't mind having a few blow outs in our favor so I could sit there in the fourth quarter."

--More on Love. He's been a bit annoyed with the officiating the last couple games. He was unhappy with the Atlanta game, particularly the blocking foul he got against Ivan Johnson that gave Johnson the winning free throws with 4.6 seconds left. Love clearly thought he had taken a charge. After Love was given a technical on Monday he almost earned a second one when he bounced up and down. Tuesday Adelman said Love -- and the whole team -- will have to learn that you "can't fight city hall." when it comes to the officials. "We have bad days and everything else, but not normally the officials," Adelman said, his tongue perhaps planted in cheek. "You have to play through it. It's a tough game to officiate and sometimes it's not going to go your way.... You have to earn your respect."

Said Love: "Basketball is a very emotional game, and for me, I was a little worried I was going to get the second technical last night. ... I don't know if I deserved the first one, but they gave it to me. It's something we need to keep fighting through. ... We'll start getting respect here if we keep playing our brand of basketball. Eventually things will turn our way and we'll be fine. We need to keep fighting through it, and I'll keep my mouth shut."

--The Wolves are now 2-1 with Ricky Rubio in the starting lineup. But Rubio's expanded minutes also have Adelman concerned. The return of Barea should help with that. Love, meanwhile, talked about how well the offense is working with Rubio running it as a starter. "This is some of the best basketball, at least on the offensive end, that we've been playing," Love said.

 

That's about all for now. I'll be covering the game tomorrow, so I'll get back to you then.

 

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