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On the Wolves

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Rubio, Miller out for Saturday vs. Bulls

The Wolves are in Winnipeg to play Chicago and new coach Fred Hoiberg Saturday night but they will do so with only half of their four point-guard contingent.

Ricky Rubio didn't practice Friday other than doing some individual and isn't yet ready to play because of what the team at first called a minor quad strain.

Andre Miller was excused to leave the team for a few days so he could attend to a personal matter(s) and is expected to rejoin the team in time for Monday's game at Toronto.

That leaves the point-guard load now again to rookie Tyus Jones and Lorenzo Brown.

Saturday's game, in case you're wondering, will be on NBA TV, starting at 7 pm Central time.

Rubio traveled with the Wolves to Winnipeg but no indication yet when or if he'll play on this three-game trip that concludes Wednesday in Ottawa against the Raptors.

Sam Mitchell was asked Friday if he is concerned about the practice and game time Rubio has missed this week.

"Well, we have concerns, but we still have a lot of time before opening night," Mitchell said. "Ricky's doing his work, so we'll just see. He's doing some individual stuff, just not the live stuff."

Wolves preseason pregame: Tyus Jones to start vs. Thunder

The Wolves open their seven-game preseason schedule tonight against Oklahoma City at Target Center.

This one's on radio, if you want to hear the dulcet tones of team play-by-play guy Alan Horton. But, like the revolution, it will not be televised.

Thunder superstar Kevin Durant plays his first game since last February. He has been back for all of training camp after he played just 27 games last season because of that fractured foot that wouldn't heal.

ESPN's Marc Stein is in town for Durant's first game. Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins is here, too, working on a Wolves piece.

Asked after shootaround this morning if tonight is something of a milestone for him, Durant said, "I haven't really looked at it like that, to be honest. Since the first day of camp I've just been trying to grind it out with my teammates. I don't think about me being injured, I just want to pick up where I left off. I haven't played an NBA game in a long time, just like these guys haven't played in a long time. I try to look at it like that and not put too much pressure on myself."

Don't expect either Durant or Russell Westbrook to probably play any more than 20 minutes tonight in what's the Thunder's preseason opener too.

Tonight also is the debut of new Thunder coach Billy Donovan, the former University of Florida coach who replaced fired Scott Brooks during the off-season.

Wolves boss Flip Saunders met with Donovan about his team's coaching vacancy in spring/summer 2014 and obviously didn't get as far with Donovan as OKC GM Sam Presti did.

Saunders coached Donovan with Rapid City in the CBA in the late 1980s and the two have remained friendly since then.

"You know, I've known Flip for a long time," Donovan said. "I've had great respect and admiration for him. He has always been a great guy...I feel terrible for him and his family, for what he has been going through. I've known Flip for a long time. He has been wonderful to me."

The Wolves will start two 19 year olds, two 20 years old and a 39 year old -- Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones, Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins and Kevin Garnett -- and the old guy after shoot still sounds taken with the youngsters.

Jones is starting at point guard Ricky Rubio, who is being held out because of what the team lists a minor quad strain.

He uses the word "great" when talking about the prospects for such a young bunch.

"Just the potential, not just the talent level but the IQ of these guys," Garnett said. "Their love for basketball, their passion to be good and want to be good. I'm very, very impressed. The work ethic of these guys is unspeakable, just to sit back and watch them work. More importantly, they're young and they enjoy being young. Its' cool to be around. They keep me young and keep me fresh and keep me on my toes. They're just a good group to be around so far."

One last thing: LaVine talked at shoot about flying to Oklahoma City in July for a night's work shooting a Foot Locker commercial with Durant. He said he didn't get much of a chance to visit with Durant because Durant came and went, but Durant praised LaVine and the young Wolves.

"I'm a huge fan of his," Durant said. "An athletic kid. He's going to be a really good player. I remember me coming in at 19 years old at the same age trying to learn. I felt like a deer in the headlights so I can relate. They have a really exciting team, man, and he's a huge piece of that."

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Gophers football at Purdue

    2:30pm on ESPN, 100.3-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey


  • Timberwolves vs. Chicago (preseason)

    6pm on NBATV, 830-AM

  • St. Louis at Wild

    7pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Lynx at Indiana

    7:30pm on ESPN, 106.1-FM

  • Timberwolves at Toronto (preseason)

    6:30pm on 830-AM

  • Timberwolves vs. Toronto (preseason)

    6pm on 830-AM

  • Wild at Phoenix

    9pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Ohio State


  • Minnesota Duluth at Gophers men's hockey

    7pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Wild at Los Angeles

    9:30pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

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