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.
The Wolves reconvened today at Target Center after six days away for All-Star break and practiced for the first time in a week, but starting center Nikola Pekovic didn't practice with them.
He's not yet ready for such on-court work yet, even with the extra week's worth of rest.
He hasn't played since a Jan. 27 game at Chicago. He is not expected to play Wednesday night against Indiana at Target Center.
That'd be his 10th consecutive game missed.
He was not in a protected boot while walking around at practice Tuesday. He was seen wearing one last week just before the Wolves went on their break.
"I'm not surprised," Wolves coach RIck Adelman said when asked about Pekovic not practicing Tuesday. "They're hoping to get him more activity over the next few days and see what happens. LIke I said before, he's got to get on court and practicing. It's not only the injury, it's the practicing. It's something we really have to look at."
THe Wolves probably will practice both Thursday and Friday before flying to Utah to begin on a Saturday a five-game Western trip.
"He's getting better, I think he'll be back soon," teammate J.J. Barea said. "I think he's making sure when he's back he'll be ready to play. Yeah, we miss him. You know we miss him."
Guard Kevin Martin is still scheduled to revisit his doctor on Friday to see he gets clearance to play with that healing fractured thumb on that upcoming road trip.
Meanwhile, Thursday's trade deadline is now just two days away and you know Flip Saunders is working hard to do something, whether it's pursuing Denver exiled point guard Andre Miller or that Yahoo!Sports reported deal on Monday that said the Wolves have discussed a Barea-Chase Budinger for Tayshaun Prince-Tony Allen deal with Memphis.
Budinger declined to talk with reporters Tuesday, walking past them and saying, "I'm not talking about any rumors."
Despite all the building national speculation, here's one thing you can bet on: The Wolves aren't trading Kevin Love.
At least not yet, not by Thursday.
The Wolves have been hit by the injury bug again. And again.
In no particular order:
--Kevin Love, who has worked his way through so many bumps and bruises the past couple weeks, will not play tonight because of a left quad contusion.
--Neither will shooting guard Kevin Martin. Martin hurt his left (non-shooting) thumb late in Friday’s loss in New Orleans. An X-ray taken Saturday revealed a non-displaced fracture of the distal phalanx the thumb. Non-displaced means the bone broke, but the pieces of the bone are still aligned. And the distal phalanx is the tip of the thumb. The Wolves said Martin will not need surgery, but is out indefinitely, at least until after the All-Star break.
After enjoying relatively good health from their starting unit for much of the season, the injuries are coming in bunches. Center Nikola Pekovic missed his seventh game Saturday with bursitis in his right ankle. He is not expected until after the All-Star break either.
Tonight’s starters: Ricky Rubio, Chase Budinger, Ronny Turiaf, Dante Cunningham and Corey Brewer.
Here are some other pre-game tidbits:
--Both teams are tired. The Wolves didn’t tip off Friday in New Orleans until 8:30, which meant a long flight home after their fourth-quarter collapse. The team didn’t get to town until about 3:30. The Blazers, meanwhile, lost in overtime at Indiana Friday before flying here.
--Top Blazers reserve Mo Williams will not play tonight. He is missing his second straight game tending to an ill member of his family.
That’s about it for now. Have a good night.
Kevin Love still is recovering from Tuesday night’s nasty fall, but said after this morning’s shootaround in New Orleans that he will play tonight against the Pelicans in that 8:30 pm ESPN game.
“I’m feeling a little bit better, still pretty sore,” he said. “But I’m going to give it a go tonight.”
Love said he’s “very stiff, very sore” from his whiplashed neck down through his back and into his hip, on which he landed after getting fouled hard by Lakers center Robert Sacre while going to the basket late in Tuesday’s victory.
“Our training staff does a good job, so they’ll get me ready to play by tonight,” Love said. “I’m not going to talk about it too much, just keep my mindset that I’m going to play and play well.”
Love said he did hit his head on the floor Tuesday, but said he had no concussion symptoms.
“It snapped back pretty good,” he said. “I watched the replay once and that’s all I could watch it. It was a scary moment for me.”
He received treatment before Wednesday’s game at Oklahoma City right up until the team’s pre-game meeting and decided about 20 minutes before the opening tip that he was too sore to play.
Asked if there’s a chance he won’t play, he said, “There’s always a chance but I’m pretty set on playing, so I’m good to go.”
Meanwhile, Corey Brewer was not at shootaround today. He is scheduled to arrive in New Orleans early this afternoon after missing Wednesday’s game so he could stay behind in Minnesota and be with his newborn son.
Wolves reserve center Ronny Turiaf has been active list and D-League bound Shabazz Muhammad is inactive for tonight's game at Philadelphia.
That means he's available to play while teammate Chase Budinger remains on the inactive list for at least another game.
How much or how well Turiaf plays are different matters.
He hasn't played since injuring his elbow in the season's second game, Nov. 1 against Oklahoma City.
"Just go out there and do my thing," Turiaf said before the game. "All the extra work I've put in the last couple weeks...I'm looking forward to it."
Turiaf said he doesn't know if he is being put on a minutes limit, but you can be sure the Wolves coaches and medical staff watch his conditioning and stamina closely.
"We'll shall see," Turiaf said about his conditioning. "All I can tell you is I felt pretty good in practice. If Coach asks me to play, I'll go play. If he asks me to go short minutes, I'll go short minutes. I just want to help this team in any way possible. We shall see what Coach has planned for me."
Budinger said he's still waiiting for clearance based on how he handles practices. Rick Adelman said late last week that both players were very close to returning, so we'll see what Wednesday's game against Phoenix brings.
Still waiting to hear on Luc Mbah a Moute's availability. He rested his strained groin before tonight's game and was swearing profusely when he came in from warmups, but we'll see if he's good enough to play after missing Saturday's loss to Oklahoma City.
Sixers guard Tony Wroten (flu, migraine headache) won't play but Michael Carter-Williams, who didn't play when these two teams played at Target Center last month, will.
can wait ti get back and see if shes safe and ready to go and not frozen, siberian temperature in minneapoolis definitley something different,
Ricky Rubio did not participate in this morning's shootaround in El Segundo because he is feeling ill and is being called a game-time decision for tonight's game against the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant, of course, won't play for the home team because of that fractured knee bone that will keep him out for the next six weeks.
If Rubio doesn't play, that leaves J.J. Barea as the starter and Alexey Shved and A.J. Price as backup options.
The Lakers are down three point guards -- Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar -- and LA coach Mike D'Antoni said before tonight's game that the Wolves should give his team a fighting chance.
When asked if his team catches a break if Rubio doesn't play, he said, "I don't know, (J.J.) Barea's pretty good, too. Maybe both of them. We have three out. At least they can have two."
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