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 hits just keep coming for the Timberwolves: An MRI taken today shows starting shooting guard Kevin Martin fractured his wrist in Wednesday's victory over New York.
He is listed as out indefinitely and will be re-evaliated in the coming days to determine whether he'll need surgery.
The team said he broke his right wrist midway through Wednesday's first quarter.
That's his shooting wrist, of course.
You might recall he went on to score a season-high 37 points that night.
Surgery likely is the fastest way to get him back on the court, perhaps in four to six weeks
Add him to the list of injured that also includes Nikola Pekovic, Ricky Rubio and Ronny Turiaf. Forward Thad Young is out for tonight's game against San Antonio at Target Center as well.
A little bit of history here:
Martin broke the other wrist -- his left, non-shooting one -- in November 2009 and did so the same night he scored 48 points and then went out and scored 29 the next.
He had surgery then and missed the next two-plus months.
Well, it's come to this: Flip Saunders added to his team's list of potentially injured or ill missing before tonight's game against New York and revealed that both Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin each had IVs this afternoon after they fell ill.
One reporter responded by laughing.
"You think it's really funny, don't you?" Saunders responded wryly. "I have a sportcoat in there, it's a blue one with a blue tie."
Flip could use all the help he can get.
Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Thad Young, Ronny Turiaf are all out tonight and Brewer and Martin are expected to try to play despite not feeling well.
Even assistant coach David Adelman is out.
Saunders said he will search the Target Center corridors for tall guys and would activate Calvin Booth if he could.
He can't, so he's modifying his starting lineup by putting veteran Mo Williams alongside Martin in the backcourt while giving Shabazz Muhammad his first NBA career start in Young's power-forward spot alongside Andrew Wiggins and Gorgui Dieng up front.
Dieng is the only healthy center, Anthony Bennett and Robbie Hummel are the only other big men available.
So what's the latest deal with Wolves center Nikola Pekovic?
That same hurting ankle that bothered him in previous seasons? A personal situation? Or a sprained wrist sustained Saturday at Dallas?
Turns out it seems to be some of all three things.
Pekovic said after shootaround this morning that painful bursa sac in his ankle began bothering him more again starting with last week's game in Mexico City. But he said the wrist that he banged in Dallas is the condition a doctor recommended he take the week off to heal.
As for the personal situation to which Flip Saunders attributed Pekovic's absence from practice Monday...it was a trip Pekovic and his mother made to Rochester and the Mayo medical facilities, where each had their own appointments.
Pekovic said before tonight's game against New York at Target Center that he will visit a doctor again beginning of next week and is hopeful he'll be cleared then to resume practicing.
"Of course, it's just the beginning of the season, of course it's disappointing," he said. "But it's more disappointing when you try to do something and you just can't. When you're in pain, you make more damage than you can help your team. That's more disappointing that just sitting on the side...It's better to sit, take a few days off, try to heal everything as much as I can and then try to come back and play how I can play."
Saunders as the team's president of basketball operations has hired additional athletic training staff and forged a relationship with the Mayo organization that has resulted in its own facility next to Target Center.
None of those steps has prevented a rash of injuries that affected the team both past and present.
"There are some things you can't control," Pekovic said. "Ricky (Rubio), he played four, five games and he sprained his ankle and he's out for two months. The only thing you can control is you can do everything they say to protect yourself. We try to do what we can: We try to do our weights, try to do our stretching. Some things you just can't help it...
"It gets frustrating every time. This is our job. We don't work in an office. You get hurt. You get hit, especially me, how I play. I get hit a lot."
Pekovic is out for least the next three games. So, too, is Thad Young, who remains away from the team after his mother died last week. Rubio's out, too.
That leaves a starting lineup with four players who are rookies (Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine) or second-year players (Gorgui Dieng, Anthony Bennett) and veteran Kevin Martin.
With backup center Ronny Turiaf (hip) also still injured, Dieng is the only healthy natural center left. He, Bennett and Robbie Hummel are the only "big" men left.
"It stinks but at the same time it gives guys a lot of opportunity to play, whether it's in position or out of position" said Hummel, who like Bennett probably will have to play some center tonight. "The games don't stop. We still have to come out and be ready to play. In my situation, whether it's the 5 or the 4 or the 3 or wherever that may be, I'll be ready to go. I look at any opportunity on the court is a good one."
The Wolves likely will start four players with a year's experience or less Wednesday night against New York at Target Center now that starters Nikola Pekovic, Thad Young and, yes, Ricky Rubio aren't expected to play.
Coach Flip Saunders said after Tuesday's practice that Pekovic is out the rest of the week not because of that troublesome sore ankle but because of a sprained right wrist sustained in Saturday's loss at Dallas.
Saunders said managing Pekovic's soreness and pain in his ankle/foot is an ongoing issue, but said his absence for games against the Knicks, Spurs and Kings is due to the wrist injury.
He said Pekovic will be evaluated early next week.
Young also is out at least until Sunday while he's away from the team following his mother's death. Her funeral is Friday.
Rubio was at practice again today, on crutches. Saunders said Rubio's sprained ankle won't be evaluated until he is off crutches and can place some weigh to that foot, which probably will be sometime next week.
For now, the Wolves are expected to start rookies Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine as well as second-year players Anthony Bennett and Gorgui Dieng.
"We'll be a little undermanned, but we'll be ready to go," Saunders said after Tuesday's practice. "No one got hurt today, so that's a positive."
Friday morning Thaddeus Young wasn’t with the Wolves in New Orleans. But he was on their minds, and in their prayers.
Young’s mother, Lulu Hall, died Thursday. Young had left the team to travel to Memphis, Tenn. To be with his mother, and was able to see her before she died. Young will remain with his family for the near future, which means he will miss tonight’s game against the Pelicans and Saturday’s game in Dallas at least.
“The last week she took a turn for the worst,” Wolves coach Flip Saunders said. “So we talked to him, told him that whenever he needed to go home he could go. Fortunately for him, he was able to get home and have a chance to talk to his mother before she passed away. Our sentiments go out to him and his family. He’s part of our family. She was part of our family. So it’s a sad day for everybody.”
Saunders said Hall had been sick for a while. “She had breast cancer a couple years ago,” he said. “I think it just reared its head.”
Young’s teammates said they would support him any way they could.
“I just sent him a text,” Corey Brewer said after the team’s morning shoot finished. “It’s tough. I know from when my dad passed. I can only imagine how he feels right now. I’m with him. I’m praying for him. All you can do is pray and be there if he needs anything.”
Said Zach LaVine: "We're all going to have a prayer for him."
Meanwhile, the Wolves to have to play a game tonight and figure out a way to at least slow down Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis. Saunders wouldn’t say who would start in Young’s place tonight – “You’ll have to wait until 7:05 tonight to find out,” he said -- but you have to figure that, no matter who starts, both Anthony Bennett and Robbie Hummel will get significant minutes tonight and Saturday.
Saunders also said you could see Gorgui Dieng and Nikola Pekovic on the floor together at times.
“It’s an opportunity,” Saunders. “Everybody has to step up. We don’t have Ricky (Rubio) or Thad, two of our most efficient guys. All of our fours are young guys. So it’s a good opportunity for them to play against maybe the best young player in our league right now.”
That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you tonight.
|Vikings (12)||Wolves news (1019)|
|Bears (2)||Lions (1)|
|Packers (3)||Super Bowl (2)|
|Injury report (2)||On the road (54)|
|Rookies (35)||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 (362)||Wolves management (142)|
|Wolves players (553)||Wolves postgame (297)|
|Wolves practice news (170)||Wolves pre-game (414)|
|Wolves trade talk (87)||Wolves training camp (63)|
|Adrian Peterson (3)||Sidney Rice (2)|