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Bjelica out vs. Detroit with a sore right ankle

The Wolves just announced that Nemanja Bjelica will miss tonight's game with the Detroit PIstons at Target Center with a sore right ankle. 

It's unclear when he first injured the ankle. Though it should be noted that Bjelica, who had played two very strong games in New York and in Charlotte last week, has seen his minutes drop the last two games. He scored nine points on 3-for-5 shooting with three rebounds and a steal in the loss in Toronto Thursday.

The Wolves' starting five remains the same: Karl-Anthony Towns, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng and Ricky Rubio. 

Orono's Leuer, Rice Lake's Ellenson at Target Center to face Wolves tonight

Because they played last night in Toronto, the Wolves didn’t hold a morning shoot today. But tonight's opponent, Detroit, did. And the Pistons brought a couple of compelling locally-based stories with them to Target Center.

The first is forward Jon Leuer, the former Orono and University of Wisconsin star whose career has gone to another level since signing a four-year $42 million deal with Pistons during the off-season.

Getting consistent minutes from the start – something he didn’t always get while playing for four NBA teams in his first five seasons – he having a career year. He is averaging 26.6 minutes, 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists, all career highs.

“I knew it was going to be a good system for me, that there would be a god opportunity for me to play,” he said. “But nothing is guaranteed. You have to come in and prove yourself and earn minutes in any new situation. That’s what my mindset was, that’s what I came here to do.’’

The opportunity was definitely there. Pistons president of basketball operations and coach Stan Van Gundy had Leuer on his radar for a while. “He’s a guy that, since his rookie year, I’ve really liked,’’ Van Gundy said. “I just think he’s 6-10, 6-11, with very good athleticism. He can put the ball on the floor and play off the dribble. He’s expanded his range. And he can move his feet defensively.’’

Drafted by Milwaukee in the second round of the 2011 draft (40th overall), Leuer has played for the Bucks, Memphis, Cleveland and Phoenix. Given the circumstances, according to Van Gundy, it was sometimes difficult for him to get regular playing time. He was in Memphis when Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol were younger. He played behind Markieff Morris and Tyson Chandler in Phoenix. “It was tough for him to get consistent minutes,” Van Gundy said. “We felt if he got minutes every night he could be really productive. And I still think there is a lot more there that hasn’t’ been tapped yet.’’

While they are different players, Leuer and the  Wolves’  Cole Aldrich have similar stories. Both played for a number of teams early in their career before signing a long-term deal. Both paid some Development League dues. Both appear to be in the right place now.

The two are friends. The two played against each other in high school when Leuer’s Orono team would play Aldrich, who was at  Bloomington Jefferson. They played together in AAU ball for the Minnesota Magic. The two work out together during the off-season. “We have a lot of respect for each other,’’ Leuer said.

Leuer will have a bunch of friends and family at the game. But probably not as many as will come from Rice Lake, Wisconsin to watch Henry Ellenson play.

Ellenson, in his rookie year out of Marquette – he was taken by the Pistons with the 18th pick in the draft – said this morning that between 150 and 200 folks would make the trip from Rice Lake to see the game. Plus, apparently, the entire Rice Lake High School band, which will play.

For Ellenson, his first season has been a learning experience. The 6-11 forward has appeared in just five games. He has already had one D-League stint, and could have more.

But Van Gundy said he expects big things from Ellenson down the road.  “He has to work at getting stronger,” Van Gundy said. “And at getting better at the defensive end of the floor. Those are the two things. And he has already been making improvements in both areas. We’ll try to get him some playing time down in the D League. We’re tremendously excited about his future. When he fills out and gets stronger, I think he’ll be a hell of a player in this league.’’

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Gophers men's hockey at Michigan State

    5:30 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Boston U.

    6 pm

  • Edmonton at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Detroit at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 830-AM

  • Georgia Southern at Gophers men's basketball

    8 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Boston U.

    2 pm

  • Gophers men's hockey at Michigan State

    7 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Vikings at Jacksonville

    12 pm on Ch. 9, 100.3/1130

  • Gophers women's basketball at South Carolina

    2 pm on SECN, 88.5-FM

  • Northern Illinois at Gophers men's basketball

    4 pm on 1500-AM

  • St. Louis at Wild

    5 pm on FSN PLUS, 100.3-FM

  • Golden State at Timberwolves

    6 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Florida at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Chicago

    7 pm on ESPN, 830-AM

  • Belmont at Gophers women's basketball

    12 pm on 88.5-FM

  • LIU Brooklyn at Gophers men's basketball

    7 pm on 1500-AM

  • Wild at Nashville

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

Today's Scoreboard

No MLB games today

No NFL games today

  • Orlando

    Charlotte

     

    - 1st, 3:08

    18

    20

  • Toronto

    Boston

    6:30 PM

  • Miami

    Cleveland

     

    - 1st, 12:00

    0

    0

  • Atlanta

    Milwaukee

    7:00 PM

  • Detroit

    Minnesota

    7:00 PM

  • Houston

    Oklahoma City

    7:00 PM

    ESPN

  • Indiana

    Dallas

    7:30 PM

  • New York

    Sacramento

    9:30 PM

  • Phoenix

    LA Lakers

    9:30 PM

    ESPN

  • Washington

    Buffalo

     

    - 1st, 5:00

    0

    0

  • Columbus

    Detroit

    6:30 PM

  • St. Louis

    New Jersey

    6:30 PM

  • Edmonton

    Minnesota

    7:00 PM

    FSN

  • NY Rangers

    Chicago

    7:30 PM

  • San Jose

    Anaheim

    9:00 PM

No MLS games today