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Will Thibodeau's plan have Wolves ready for playoff run?

For the first time in nine days the Wolves will return to game action when they host the Dallas Mavericks at Target Center tonight at 7 p.m.

One big question at today’s morning shoot was how the team would respond out of the All Star break after having been away for so long.

Well, if coach Tom Thibodeau has anything to say about it, it will go fine. It will come as no surprise that the ultra-prepared Thibodeau gave the players a plan on how to stay prepared before they scattered for the  break.

“Before the break we laid out what we wanted them to do when they were away,’’ Thibodeau said. “Just in terms of the conditioning. I like the way the break is now, it gives you a little more time. The first day back (Wednesday) was more activation, just to get the bodies going again. And then we had a really good practice Thursday, and shootaround today. Again, the big thing is to make sure you have a routine established in terms of how you prepare to play.’’

And Thibodeau gave it a good bit of thought.

“It’s part of being a pro,’’ he said. “You want to have a strategy for everything. You have the stuff you want to do in the fall, the stuff in the off-season. You have stuff you do over the All Star break. Because you know when those times are coming. How you prepare and plan for them, that’s part of the season. It’s important. You don’t want someone to come back deconditioned. You want them to get their rest, but to manage it well.’’

--One player who really didn’t want the break was Andrew Wiggins, who was on fire before the break. He became the second player in franchise history (Kevin Love was the other one) to post consecutive 40-point games in the two games leading up to the break. Wiggins was 16-for-29 for 41 points in a loss to Cleveland, then he had 40 points on 15-for-26 shooting in a victory at Denver right before the break.

“I didn’t want the break,’’ he said. “I was in a rhythm and I was feeling good. But it’s good to get your legs back, and relax.’’

--Brandon Rush didn’t get back to Minneapolis until Thursday. Rush, a Kansas City native, had his No. 25 Kansas jersey retired by the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse at halftime of Wednesday’s KU-TCU game. For Rush, who hasn’t been back to the campus in Lawrence much since leaving there with a national championship under his belt, said it was a great experience.

“I was a little nervous at first, going up and speaking in front of everybody,’’ he said. “But it turned out to be good. Going back, it was amazing. People showed me a lot of love. I still have a lot of fans down there, and they still follow me to this day.’’

--Nerlens Noel, acquired by the Mavericks from Philadelphia at the trade deadline, won’t play tonight.  He will make his Mavs debut tomorrow.

All talk, no action: No Wolves trade as deadline passes

The NBA trading deadline came and went Thursday afternoon without the Timberwolves making a deal.

There was talk, certainly. Wolves president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau said there were plenty of conversations, plenty of proposals, plenty of opportunity.

But nothing, ultimately, made any sense.

“We felt that we’re good where we are,’’ he said.

Talk? Shabazz Muhammad was said to be available. There were reports that the Wolves and New York Knicks had talked about swapping guards, with Ricky Rubio going to New York in exchange for Derrick Rose.

Thibodeau wouldn’t say how close he came to actually making a deal.Only that nothing was worth moving on.

“You look at everything from a broad view,’’ he said. “Does it make sense immediately, short-term, or does it make sense long-term? If it does, you study it and you make a decision. And again, it’s no different than your draft preparation, your free agent preparation. It’s the possibility of improving your team. So something makes sense, you take a look at it. If it doesn’t you continue on. So we’re a young team. We know we have a lot of work to do. We have guys who are growing, moving in the right direction.’’

The Wolves, 3½ games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference as play is set to resume after the All Star break, will go forward with an unchanged roster. But the team is positioned well going forward, Thibodeau said. Both in terms of where the roster is and the cap space that will be available going into this summer’s free agency.

“We know, because of where we are because of our young players, they’re going to get better,’’ he said. “That’s what we’re concentrating on right now. The guys we do have. And then, at the end of the season, there will be the draft and free agency. We’re positioned well going forward. I like where we are.’’

Thibodeau said he didn't discuss the situation with Rubio or any other players either before the 2 p.m. deadline came or went because "you're expected to be a professional. Everyone has a job to do. Come in and do your job."

Rubio agreed, but....

"I mean, we're professionals, but we're human beings, too," Rubio said after practice Thursday. "We have feelings, but I know this is a business and it has to be like that."

Asked if it's difficult to go back to work now, Rubio said, "No, come here, work hard and play hard."

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Tampa Bay at Twins (spring training)

    6:05 pm on 96.3-FM

  • Bemidji State at Gophers women's hockey

    6:07 pm

  • Dallas at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, ESPN, 830-AM

  • Wisconsin at Gophers men's hockey

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 1500-AM

  • Twins at Boston (spring training)

    12:05 pm on MLBN, 96.3-FM

  • Penn State at Gophers men's basketball

    2 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Bemidji State at Gophers women's hockey

    4:07 pm

  • Wisconsin at Gophers men's hockey

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 1500-AM

  • Timberwolves at Houston

    8 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Gophers women's basketball at Maryland

    11 am on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Minnesota United FC vs. San Antonio

    11:30 am

  • Washington at Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm on 96.3-FM

  • Bemidji State at Gophers women's hockey (if nec.)

    4:07 pm

  • Miami at Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm

  • Los Angeles at Wild

    7 pm on NBCSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Sacramento

    9:30 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Tampa Bay at Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm

  • Wild at Winnipeg

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Pittsburgh at Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm on 96.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Utah

    8 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Twins at Baltimore (spring training)

    12:05 pm

  • Wild at Columbus

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Twins at Philadelphia (spring training)

    12:05 pm

  • Gophers men's hockey at Michigan

    5:30 pm on ESPNEWS, 1500-AM

  • Minnesota United FC at Portland

    8:30 pm on FS1

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Today's Scoreboard

  • NY Mets



    - F



  • Baltimore



    - F



  • Philadelphia

    NY Yankees


    - F



  • Cincinnati

    San Francisco


    - F



  • Tampa Bay



    - Bot 8th



No NFL games today

  • Memphis



    - F



  • Washington



    - F



  • Miami



    - 4th, 9:46



  • Utah



    - 4th, 9:28



  • LA Lakers

    Oklahoma City


    - 4th, 6:43



  • Dallas



    - 4th, 6:48



  • Phoenix



    - 4th, 8:32



  • Boston



    - 3rd, 0:48



  • Brooklyn



    - 2nd, 1:14



  • San Antonio

    LA Clippers

    9:30 PM


  • Edmonton



    - F



  • Ottawa



    - 3rd, 6:10



  • Calgary



    - 3rd, 6:27



  • Arizona



    - 2nd, 5:56



No MLS games today