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.

Posts about Wolves players

Playoff spot and best lotto chance at stake tonight in Wolves-OKC finale

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: April 15, 2015 - 6:53 PM

The Wolves and Oklahoma City finish the regular season tonight with so much at stake:

The Thunder need a victory and a New Orleans loss to San Antonio to secure the West's eighth and final playoff spot.

The Wolves need a loss to guarantee the league's worst record, and thus the best chance in the May draft lottery.

"We’d like nothing better than to have Oklahoma City go golfing with us tomorrow," Wolves coach Flip Saunders said.

Kevin Martin expects to play for the Wolves tonight and even Anthony Bennett is supposed to give it a try just so the Wolves can come close to getting eight ready players they need by NBA rules to play the game.

The Thunder has that playoff spot at stake and star guard Russell Westbrook is battling Houston's James Harden for the NBA's scoring title here on the season's final day, too.

"We have to play our game tonight," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said at his team's morning shootaround at Target Center. "Obviously, we need help. San Antonio needs to win, but we have to focus on what we have to do and go from there. Our job is to worry about our job and not worry about what's happening south of us."

Two Eastern teams with losing record will make the playoffs while the Thunder, seven games over .500, will miss them if the Pelicans win at home tonight.

"I mean, that's just how it goes," Westbrook said this morning. "That's how it always has been, especially in this league. It's something you can't change now. Obviously, our record is better than some teams in the East. It is what it is. We've got to take care of our business. That's the nature of the business."

A couple other things from today:

* Andrew Wiggins said he plans to play for Canada in August, which would be an Olympic qualifying tournament in Mexico. There's also the Pan Am Games in Toronto in July, which Anthony Bennett has said he will play.

* Zach LaVine said he's open to playing in the Las Vegas Summer League again. He said he plans to be in the gym all summer anywhere and likes playing to the crowd in Vegas. He also likes the up-and-down pace of the game there.

Saunders said he wants Wiggins, LaVine, Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad all to practice with the summer-league team but was non-committal on whether any would play in games in Vegas. Wiggins certainly won't.

Rubio to undergo ankle surgery

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: April 11, 2015 - 7:07 PM

Wolves guard Ricky Rubio will have diagnostic arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle Monday in the Los Angeles area.

Continued soreness in that left ankle Rubio sprained so badly in November sent him to see specialist dr. Richard Ferkel in Los Angeles while the Wolves were there to play the Lakers and it was decided he'll have surgery to take a better look at the ankle.

Flip Saunders said in a statement that the decision was reached between Rubio, his representatives, the Wolves and orthopedic experts.

Rubio has played just 22 games this season because of the ankle and has missed 13 of the last 14 games and won't play again this season.

Rubio probably wasn't going to play for the Spanish national team this summer so he could concentrate on getting healthy for a Wolves team that guaranteed him $55 million last fall and this almost certainly guarantees that.

I'll have more from Flip after pre-game access.

Wolves sign D-League forward Onuaku to 10-day deal

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: April 7, 2015 - 2:41 PM

D League power forward Arinze Onuaku is joining the Wolves in Sacramento this afternoon and will be available if needed tonight against the Kings after the team signed him to a 10-day hardship-exception contract.

The Wolves need another big body to finish the season now that injured Gorgui Dieng stayed home from this West Coast trip and Nikola Pekovic is headed for surgery on Wednesday in Charlotte.

They'll get a bit of break against the Kings, who will play without All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins tonight. He's out with a sore right foot.

Onuaku averaged 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in 41 D League games this season with the Canton Charge. A former Syracuse star, he has played in the D League, Lithuania, China and played three games with New Orleans and two games with Cleveland in brief stays with NBA teams.

Adreian Payne and Justin Hamilton are the team's only real available big men left, at least until -- or if -- Kevin Garnett plays again.

Flip Saunders said Garnett won't play tonight but said Garnett's leg and knee is getting stronger and said there's still a chance he plays before these final six games -- four in the next five nights -- are through.

Cousins is out for the Kings, but Rudy Gay and Nik Stauskas are listed as probable.

Wolves' Pekovic to undergo Achilles surgery next week

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: April 2, 2015 - 3:40 PM

Wolves center Nikola Pekovic will undergo surgery next week to remove damage and repair his right Achilles tendon.

Pekovic has played just 31 games this season because of the injury, which has bothered him and limited him to 54 games played a season ago.

Pekovic is expected to be out indefinitely -- there's only seven games left this season -- and it's not immediately known when he'd be able to return to court work this off-season or whether, depending on the damage, if the matter could potentially be career threatening.

The "debridement" surgery will be performed next Wednesday by Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Flip Saunders the other day ruled Pekovic out for the rest of the season and before Wednesday's game said, "We’ve got to do something. We’re not just going to sit there. We tried different ways to let it heal, trying to be as proactive as we can…We have to re-evaluate what we do with him. He’s constantly seeing doctors the last three weeks. We’ll see where it takes us.”

The Wolves owe Pekovic nearly $36 million over the next three years beyond this one on a five-year contract he signed in summer 2013.

Oh, Canada, Part II: Wolves, Wiggins vs. Toronto tonight

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: April 1, 2015 - 12:50 PM

Andrew Wiggins gets another chance against his hometown team -- his second two weeks -- tonight when Toronto comes to Target Center.

He drew a crowd from the local and Toronto media after shootaround, where his dunks over Utah's Rudy Gobert Monday night were a popular topic.

Wolves guard Kevin Martin said he'll decide whether he'll play tonight when he wakes up from his pre-game nap and sees how his hamstrings feel, but he didn't sound too confident.

He did say if not tonight, then Friday vs. Orlando.

Didn't look from the little we see at end of shootaround like Ricky Rubio will play tonight, neither.

Kevin Garnett was at shootaround after being ill for most of the last week, but he isn't expected to play tonight, either.

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