Wolves: Point guards remain idle, leave lineup in limbo

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 18, 2007 - 9:44 PM

A Timberwolves team still very much searching to find itself halfway through the preseason schedule remains without its top two point guards.

A Timberwolves team still very much searching to find itself halfway through the preseason schedule remains without its top two point guards.

Randy Foye and Sebastian Telfair sat side by side Thursday and watched their teammates scrimmage. Neither is expected to play in exhibition games tonight at Indiana and Saturday at Milwaukee.

Foye ran and worked out on his own Thursday and is targeted to return to practice early next week in time for the Wolves' final two preseason games. Foye (knee tendinitis) and Telfair (sprained ankle) missed the past two games, when the Wolves without them committed 21 turnovers in Memphis and 27 in Atlanta.

"I feel good," Foye said. "If you watched me closely when we played Boston and the team in Turkey [on the Wolves' European tour], I had a little limp. But the limp is gone now. I want to get out there. I know everyone wants me to get out there playing the way I ended up last season. But I'm cautious about everything. I want to make sure it's right, so when I get out there, I stay out there."

Without those two point guards, Wolves coach Randy Wittman has started Marko Jaric at point guard and given him mixed reviews, while praising veterans Greg Buckner and Ricky Davis, who have filled in at that position in emergency.

"We're working on taking care of the ball," Wittman said. "We can't throw the ball away 27 times and expect to have an opportunity to win games. Yes, we don't have our point guard, but that's an excuse if we use that. Buck's [Buckner] done a great job; he's not coming in throwing the ball all over the place. We have to value the ball more. We threw two passes into the third row of the arena [in Atlanta]. That's a concern of mine. I'm going to play guys I can trust with the ball."

Etc.

• Forward Ryan Gomes, who missed all but four minutes of the past two games because of a foot/ankle injury, practiced fully Thursday. If he has little soreness this morning, he will play tonight. If not, he will be held until Saturday's game at Milwaukee.

• Veteran forward Juwan Howard is wearing a plastic mask in practice and games to protect a broken nose sustained in a pickup game in Chicago just before training camp opened.

Flexibility

Wittman has changed his starting lineup each night so far, according to that night's matchup. It's a practice he said he expects to continue to start the season, and probably beyond.

"We're not going to be a team that has one set of five guys as starters," Wittman said. "

Against Memphis, Theo Ratliff started at center so he could defend Grizzlies star Pau Gasol. Against Atlanta, Al Jefferson started at center and Craig Smith at power forward so Josh Smith, the Hawk's perimeter-oriented power forward, wouldn't be matched against Jefferson, a low-post player.

"If I'm comfortable with an eight-, nine-man rotation when we get to Nov. 2, then we'll have it," Wittman said, referring to opening night;. "If not, we have to find the right mix. We'll continue to look to different guys together. It's starting to show now who's stepping up and responding to the situation."

  • WOLVES NOTES

    Up next: at Indiana (exhibition)

    6 p.m. today • no TV or radio

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