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.
An MRI performed Saturday morning revealed a radial head fracture in backup center Ronny Turiaf’s right elbow. Turiaf will be re-evaluated next week to determine an approximate timetable for his return.
Turiaf was injured at the 10:17 mark of the second quarter of Friday's victory over Oklahame City when, off-balance, he crashed to the floor.
The good news is that surgery will not be needed. But Turiaf is likely out at least a few weeks.
And that will force Wolves coach Rick Adelman to shuffle some things in his rotation.
“Obviously G will get his chance,” Adelman said of rookie center Gorgui Dieng, who was drafted by the Wolves with the 21st overall pick in the 2013 draft.
The post position, which looked so deep just a few days ago, is less so now. Turiaf, a vocal leader, was a valuable defender off the bench at the center position.
Now Adelman will have to use Dieng to back up starter Nikola Pekovic. Adelman said he will also slide Kevin Love into the five position more often as well, though he wants to avoid doing it too much.
“We don’t want to do that as a consistent thing,” Adelman said. “I like doing it at the end of games, because it forces (the opponent’s) hand. Plus, you don’t want him playing against guys who are going to attack him in the post. It’s not his strong suit. … Hopefully Pak and G can do it. G was a little nervous (Friday) night. But he’s played and he’s done a decent job. I think the more he plays the better he’ll be.’’
Dieng got his first action of the regular season in the Wolves’ one-sided victory Friday. He played 14½ minutes. He missed the only shot he took, was 0-for-4 from the free throw line and committed four fouls.
Adelman can also use Dante Cunningham in spots against teams fielding small lineups.
The Wolves conclude their seven-game preseason schedule tonight at Detroit, with the second half of back-to-back that this time features a formidable, remade Pistons frontline.
Ninety minutes before tonight's game, Rick Adelman still hadn't decided who would start at small forward. He said he was waiting partly to see who the Pistons -- who signed free-agent Josh Smith last summer to put alongside youngster Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond -- started up front.
Ultimately, Adelman started veteran Dante Cunningham after also considering starting Derrick Williams, Shabazz Muhammad or putting Robbie Hummel back there after Hummel started and played 30-plus minutes Monday in Philadelphia.
Ronny Turiaf also started at center in place of Nikola Pekovic, who didn't come out for warmups because of a quad contusion sustained in Philadelphia.
It's just a precaution with the season opener just six days away, I'm told.
Adelman brought Corey Brewer off the bench again, although he said before Thursday's game he has not ruled out Brewer as his starter when the regular season arrives Wednesday against Orlando.
Adelman likes Brewer's energy off the bench, but...
"I really liked him last year with what Denver did and he does give you a lot of energy off the bench," Adelman said.
The difference is the Nuggets started defensive-minded Andre Iguodala against the opponent's best wing player.
The Wolves don't have any other real defensive options at starting small forward other than Brewer.
"Could go either way with it," Adelman said about Brewer's role. "It's something we'll talk about next five days and figure out what's best for the team."
Kevin Martin came back to practice today after a week away even though his Achilles tendon still is sore.
He returned along with his teammates who hadn't practiced since Saturday's listless loss to the Raptors at Target Center because there's important work to be done with five uninterrupted practices this week before the team's final three preseason games.
Here's video of Martin himself talking after practice here.
And here's video of my latest Wolves Daily with a recap from today's long practice at Target Center, something of a return to training-camp practices.
Look here on the Strib site later this evening for a story on Martin written for Wednesday's paper.
Wolves starting shooting guard Kevin Martin will miss his second consecutive game tonight against Toronto at Target Center because of that sore Achilles tendon, an absence that will give him now another eight days to rest and heal before the team plays its final three preseason games.
Even with Martin out, Wolves coach Rick Adelman said he hopes to play his top nine or 10 players together more starting tonight and particuarly focusing in on the final three preseason games.
So don't expect Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio to play just the first 11 minutes, like they did Thursday night in Sioux Falls against the Bucks.
"Hopefully we'll see our guys play a little bit more," Adelman said before tonight's game. "The main guys, we've got to get them on the floor together. Hopefully, tonight we'll see 10, 11 guys play so we can get a consistent rotation."
He wants to do that, but also has to balance it with trying to figure out who gets the final roster spot(s).
"I don't know," he said when asked how many roster spots he expects to have open. "Who knows what's going to happen the last two weeks of the preseason."
Right now, Othyus Jeffers, A.J. Price, Robbie Hummel and Lorenzo Brown are battling for what almost certainly will be two spots when the team waives Chris Johnson. But Adelman left open the possibility that the team could add a player from another team's training camp once all teams make their cuts in the final week of the preseason.
The Wolves will play on tonight in Sioux Falls, S.D., against the Bucks without starting shooting guard Kevin Martin, who played just six minutes last night in Toronto because of a sore Achilles.
Martin calls himself day to day, but I'll bet you he doesn't play Saturday against the Raptors in a rematch at Target Center, either.
The Wolves don't play for another eight days after Saturday, so that would give him a good 10 days to rest and heal his body.
He said in Toronto his Achilles flared up on Monday, but he appeared not to be feeling well after training camp practices in Mankato last week. He seemed awful sore and was moving kinda slow and spoke about aging.
"I need to get healthy," he said before tonight's game. "I need to get myself right."
Without him, expect Alexey Shved to start at shooting guard but Rick Adelman said he'll look at lots of guys, including Lorenzo Brown, Othyus Jeffers and maybe even Shabazz Muhammad there.
The Bucks are playing without Ekpe Udoh, Carlos Delfine, Ersan Ilyasova and possibly Zaza Pachulia tonight.
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