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.
Down to just 7 1/2 healthy men last night, the Wolves today signed D League guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract before tonight's game at New York.
The Wolves received a hardship roster exception from the NBA to do so because they have so few healthy players.
Kilpatrick, 25, averaged 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 42 games with Delaware and Santa Cruz this season. He's 6-4 and played four seasons at Cincinnati, wasn't drafted last summer but played with Philadelphia's summer-league team and briefly was with Golden State in the preseason.
Ricky Rubio played last night's game at Toronto seemingly on one healthy leg. This gives the Wolves another backcourt option once Kilpatrick joins the team.
Flip Saunders said after Friday's morning shootaround in Oklahoma City that Kevin Garnett "for sure" will play tonight in Oklahoma City, but starting center Nikola Pekovic will be a game-time decision because of that ankle that limited him to eight minutes Wednesday in Phoenix.
That's the way it'll probably be here, a day to day situation depending on how much pain Pekovic is feeling in that ankle.
Without him for most of Wednesday's game, the Wolves relied upon newly acquired center Justin Hamilton to play 28 minutes off the bench.
Garnett hasn't played since Saturday's home victory over Portland.
Kevin Garnett will not play tonight against the Clippers in Los Angeles.
Flip Saunders said it's partly because of a sore knee with which Garnett has been dealing and partly for rest.
Garnett played 21 minutes in Saturday's home victory over Portland. Monday's absence now will give him Sunday and Monday off and presumably a practice day Tuesday before Wednesday's game at Phoenix.
Adreian Payne will start at the power-forward spot and newly acquired Justin Hamilton likely will see his first action as a Wolf.
It was a very frustrated Nikola Pekovic who – after watching but not participating in the Wolves’ morning shoot – talked about that sore right foot/ankle that could keep him out of tonight’s game.
Still sore, Pekovic said he would decide on his availability for the game after trying to warm up pre-game.
“We’ll see,” he said.
But, one way or another, this injury – something that has been bothering Pekovic for a long time -- is going to impact the rest of this season, at least. It could be that the stretch run this year will be much like last season’s, when the soreness caused Pekovic to miss 28 of the final 38 games. Even if he’s able to manage the pain and return, Pekovic said that some sort of minutes limit will have to be enforced by coach Flip Saunders.
“I’m going to have to go back on that [minutes limit],” he said. “I’m not really happy with that. But if that’s going to be help me get through the season, probably Flip’s going to do it.’’
That said, Pekovic sounded like a man fed up with the process. All it took was a simple question: How frustrated are you? “A lot, a lot, a lot, a lot,” he said. “It’s been a long, long, long, long time. A year. I’ve almost been a year dealing with this. It’s going up and down. It was better during the summer. When you kind of rest it, it’s always better. But you start working….
“It’s kind of tough, mentally, to have to go through all this. You want to play, but it just doesn’t let you. Your foot doesn’t let you go. … It’s just tough dealing with this every day.’’
Pekovic has tried stretching. He has tried modifying his warm-up routing. He said today that he has taken shots for the inflammation. After the season he said he will seek more opinions from specialists on how to deal with this ongoing problem. “Right after the season is done, I’ll try to figure out what to do,” he said.
Here are some other notes from this morning:
--Shooting guard Kevin Martin missed the shootaround due to illness, and he is listed as questionable for tonight’s game with the Clippers.
--Those 1,000 tickets Kevin Garnett bought for fans were scooped up in about 3 minutes this morning. It was, Garnett said, the least he could do. “Just a way of showing my appreciation,” Garnett said. “I’m always looking to be innovative, try things from an original standpoint. I’m excited to be back here. And, though I can’t thank everybody, in appreciation I liked to show some type of gesture. And this is the way I chose to show it.’’
--But on the subject of his two technical and his ejection from Saturday’s loss to Memphis Garnett was less loquacious. “That’s over with,” he said. “I’m not speaking on that.”
That’s about all for now. I’ll get back to you before the game.
The deal hasn’t been officially announced. But there is still a lot of reaction coming out of Target Center when it comes to the Garnett trade. We had a chance to catch up with a few players after today’s practice, and here are some samples of what they were saying:
--Kevin Martin, the wily vet, knows the impact Garnett will have, both on and off the court. “That locker room is going to be turned upside down,” Martin said. “He’ll definitely put his handprint on it. That’s what we needed in the locker room, somebody who ‘s been through it all, a Hall of Famer. And intense like he is, it’s definitely going to change.’’
--Guard Ricky Rubio plans on watching Garnett closely: “I’m going to be with my notebook and see whatever he does,” Rubio said. “Whatever he say, we’ll listen and do it, he’s going to have a voice in the locker room and we’ll learn a lot from him. It’s great. Not just because he did great things here, he’s been one of the greatest ever in this sport. I’m happy to be his teammate.
--Rookie Andrew Wiggins, who was 12 when Garnett was traded away back in 2007, can hardly wait to start learning from Garnett. “ He’s one of the all-time greats,” Wiggins said. “The best player to ever come to this franchise, the Timberwolves. So it will be great. He’ll teach me a lot. Practices will be intense. I’m looking forward to it.”
--Chase Budinger knows what Garnett means to Minnesota. “It’s special for the fans here,” he said. “It’s special for the city. He’s done such a great job over his career and I think it’s just pretty cool for him to come back and finish up his career here.”
|Vikings (12)||Wolves news (1051)|
|Bears (2)||Lions (1)|
|Packers (3)||Super Bowl (3)|
|Injury report (4)||On the road (56)|
|Rookies (39)||Roster moves (3)|
|Vikings draft (41)||Vikings trade talk (2)|
|NBA playoffs (1)||Wolves coaches (80)|
|Wolves draft news (58)||Wolves guards (45)|
|Wolves injury report (393)||Wolves management (142)|
|Wolves players (570)||Wolves postgame (314)|
|Wolves practice news (175)||Wolves pre-game (457)|
|Wolves trade talk (89)||Wolves training camp (63)|
|Adrian Peterson (3)||Sidney Rice (2)|