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 injury report

Ricky gets a rest for tonight's game in Cedar Rapids

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: October 17, 2014 - 6:33 PM

The Wolves have traveled to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to play Milwaukee tonight but those fans who are expected to fill U.S. Cellular Center won't see Ricky Rubio play.

Flip Saunders said before the game that he'll rest Rubio tonight after the team practice hard for three consecutive days this week.

He said those practices Rubio -- coming off last month's FIBA World Cup appearance -- tired out Rubio some and he didn't want to risk a fatigue injury at this point.

Rookie Zach LaVine will start at point guard instead.

"Play the young guys," Saunders said.

Saunders said he would have paused more about not playing Rubio for the Iowa audience if he didn't plan on playing a lot of the other players -- Andrew Wiggins and LaVine, namely -- those fans paid to see play in a city the Wolves haven't visited since 2002.

Kevin Martin (groin) and Shabazz Muhammad (heel) won't play, either, and center Kyrylo Fesenko is home ill and won't play either.

The Bucks will play without injured points Brandon Knight and Nate Wolters, Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova among others.

Martin, Muhammad both ruled out of Friday's preseason game

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: October 16, 2014 - 3:01 PM

The Wolves finished up practice just after noon on Thursday then headed off to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for tomorrow’s game against the Bucks.

Kevin Martin, who has battled a groin injury, practiced for a second straight day but will not play Friday, according to coach Flip Saunders. Meanwhile, Shabazz Muhammad’s sore heel is better – he is finally rid of the immobilization boot he’s been wearing  -- but he won’t play Friday either.

There is a chance both could play Sunday.

“Kevin won’t go,” Saunders said. “He had a good day [Wednesday] and went today. But I want him to get a good practice in Saturday and maybe go Sunday. With Bazz, it’s probably the same thing.’’

Also, center Kyrylo Fesenko, who is sick, missed practice Thursday and did not travel with the team.

Here are some other post-practice nuggets:

--Saunders is still going to try to play a lot of young guys while taking it easy on the veterans, though he didn’t say who might not go Friday. While Saunders said he’s surprised at how much the young players have been able to absorb in two-plus weeks of camp, he’s still looking for much of what is being taught to transfer into games.

--With five preseason games between Friday and Oct. 24, Saunders does not want a tired team entering the regular season. Especially with a lot of travel early in November.

--One area where Saunders wants to see improvement, starting with Friday, is in how the team plays its zone defense, something Saunders plans on using quite a bit.

That’s about it for now. Jerry will be with the team in Cedar Rapids tomorrow. 

Wolves proceed with caution with injured Shabazz, Martin

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: October 14, 2014 - 9:14 PM

Wolves forward Shabazz Muhammad wore a protective boot on his sore heel, a precautionary measure for the next couple days that Flip Saunders said doctors ordered to calm tendinitis.

He's not expected to do much, if anything at all, at practice until at least Thursday, Saunders said.

That makes him unlikely to play Friday against Milwaukee in Cedar Rapids, Ia.

Meanwhile, Kevin Martin did more today with that healing groin injury. He did some live action and will do more as the week goes on.

Saunders said it's possible he'll play this weekend, which could mean Sunday's game against Oklahoma City in Tulsa at the latest.

Saunders and the Wolves are being cautious because their No. 1 objective is to get through this preseason without a major injury, unlike Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant and Washington with Bradley Beal.

He's measuring practice and playing time for the Wolves players who participated in last month's FIBA World Cup in Spain: J.J. Barea didn't play Friday against Philadelphia and he basically gave Ricky Rubio and Gorgui Dieng off from practice on Saturday.

Also, Anthony Bennett said he went to the eye doctor yesterday and has been cleared to play without those goggles to protect his eyes after Lasik surgery. Although he said he played pretty well with them, so he joked he reserves the right to go back to them if need be.

One other thing before I go: The NBA announced today it will experiment this weekend with a shortened 44-minute game between Brooklyn and Boston.

I polled Flip and some Wolves players on it -- reserve guard Mo Williams didn't like the idea one bit, would rather they play 52 minutes so the reserves get more PT -- and will write about that for Wednesday's paper and the web site.

Saunders stresses team defense

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: October 11, 2014 - 2:06 PM

This is not a second training camp for the Timberwolves.

Coach Flip Saunders isn’t calling the team’s five-day window between preseason games a second camp. Saturday he joked that the players might think those two-a-days were coming back. But what the stretch does do is give Saunders and his staff some time to work on some thing that popped up during the first two preseason games.

And one of those is defense. In particular pick and roll defense and team defense.

“I told the guys we have three guys we almost have to send to Gamblers Anonymous in Corey Brewer, Ricky Rubio and Thaddeus Young,” Saunders joked. “We have to get them to use calculated risks and not do it all the time.”

Saunders called the team’s pick and roll defense a work in progress, but stressed the need for a disciplined approach.

In other news:

--Guard Kevin Martin {groin injury) remains unable to practice and Saunders said he will not try to rush Martin back. Still, Saunders expects Martin to practice at some point this week and perhaps play in the next preseason game, which is Friday against Milwaukee in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

--Shabazz Muhammad, who has a sore Achilles’ heel, also did not practice today and might not return to practice until Monday.

Bennett could make preseason debut Friday

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: October 9, 2014 - 3:35 PM

The Wolves will play their first preseason  home game Friday against Philadelphia at Target Center. And Anthony Bennett – sidelined from Tuesday’s preseason opener with a sore hip flexor -- might be ready to play.

Wolves coach Flip Saunders said Bennett was able to practice Thursday. “He was active,” Saunders said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. Hopefully he’ll get some minutes [Friday].’’

Veteran Kevin Martin {groin injury) did some shooting, but will not play Friday.

Here are some other tidbits from practice:

--Saying he still keeps in touch with some of his old Philly teammates, forward Thaddeus Young said he’s looking forward to Friday’s game, even if it is just a preseason game. “Yeah, coach just told me I’d better give the whole scouring report on them tomorrow,” Young joked. “But it’s just one of those situations where you go out and play and have fun, try to get better.”

--Saunders, who has said a few times how much Andrew Wiggins’ development has accelerated as training camp progressed, loves the rookie’s ability to get to the free throw ling. “If things aren’t going well, the best way to get started is to get to the free throw line,” Saunders said.

--Saunders said he hadn’t decided which veterans will sit out Friday’s game. But it looks like Nikola Pekovic and Mo Williams should play after not playing Tuesday.

Friday's game will be shown on Fox Sports North. 

That’s about it for now. Jerry will be covering Friday’s game. 

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