Learning small forward is Gomes' ticket to more minutes

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 24, 2007 - 12:53 AM

Now that his foot is finally better, Ryan Gomes wants to get back to work trying to get it in the door.

Now that his foot is finally better, Ryan Gomes wants to get back to work trying to get it in the door.

The 6-7 Gomes, who came to the Timberwolves in the Kevin Garnett trade, played power forward in his first two seasons in the NBA. At the start of training camp coach Randy Wittman, impressed with Gomes' consistency and knack for being in the right place at the right time, decided to give him ample opportunity to play small forward. Gomes was doing well until a foot injury 4 minutes into the Wolves' preseason game Oct. 15 in Memphis knocked him out for two preseason games.

Now he's back and ready to continue what has become a spirited competition with Corey Brewer for playing time at small forward.

"Getting hurt set him back a little," said Wittman. "But I thought early on in Europe, Ryan had a really good camp, and he played really well in the first two games for us. He's so consistent. He didn't do anything flashy, but he was consistent."

It doesn't have to be an either/or thing with Gomes and Brewer. There will be times when they're on the floor at the same time. Gomes will see minutes at power forward in a smaller lineup. Gomes does a lot of little things well; he averaged 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds while starting 60 games for the Celtics last season.

Bumps and more bumps

Forward Craig Smith had a tough night Tuesday against Indiana. Midway through the second quarter he crashed to the floor and landed on his side while trying to avoid falling on top of Dunleavy. In the fourth quarter he went down again on the right side and came up limping. He was taken out of the game and did not return.

McCants ailing

Randy Foye and Sebastian Telfair aren't the only guards ailing. Shooting guard Rashad McCants, who had impressed Wittman with his consistent play during preseason play, knocked knees with an opponent during the game Friday at Indiana and suffered a bruised left knee.

He missed Saturday's game and didn't play Tuesday. Wittman hopes he will be available for Friday's preseason finale.

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