Wolves' Webster strong, and ready to prove it

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 7, 2011 - 6:41 AM

Wolves guard Martell Webster has put pain in the past and says he has a lot to show Wolves fans.

Wolves guard Martell Webster

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune file

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There is still time, Martell Webster said.

Not a lot, to be sure. The Timberwolves' game with Dallas Monday is one of 18 left in the season. But it's enough time to show everybody why the Wolves traded with Portland to get the athletic shooting guard last summer.

"I'm as close [to 100 percent] as I'm going to get," Webster said after Sunday's practice.

Webster is expected to see his first action in eight games vs. Dallas.

"I feel good. There is still a little minor nagging," he said. "But I'd rather deal with a little minor nagging than complete discomfort and pain."

There has been plenty of that. In the preseason, Webster showed a nice combination of long-range shooting, quick defense and experienced leadership the young Wolves would need.

Then came one physical setback after another.

First there was surgery to repair his injured back, which kept him out of the first 24 games of the regular season. Then, in early February, a player fell on him in practice, causing muscle pain in his lower back and keeping him out of five more games.

Shortly upon his return, he was undercut by Chris Kaman in a game against the Clippers. Webster fell, bruised his tailbone and has missed all but three games since.

Webster won't tell you this is a lost season. But it's been a difficult one.

"It's been real frustrating,'' he said. "Not only the injuries, but not winning. That's very frustrating to me. All those things together have been very stressful."

Especially when Webster hasn't been healthy enough to play at his top level. That's why he looks at the final 18 games of this season as his chance to show people why the Wolves brought him here.

Is it enough?

"Of course," Webster said. "If there was one game left, I could still show people what they brought me here for. It's me going out and wearing my heart on my sleeve, leaving it on the court. That's what I plan to do now that I feel as good as I do now."

That has come at some cost. After the most recent injury Webster said he spent six hours of day in rehab trying to get back. He said he never considered shutting it down for the season, though that most recent injury was quite painful. He tried to play through it, and thought taking time off during the All-Star break would help him, but the pain flared again at Milwaukee coming out of the break, causing another seven-game stretch in rehab.

"The time off really helped," Webster said. "I feel better than I did coming off the surgery. I feel better, stronger, more confident."

He also sounds determined to make the most of the time left this season.

Injury update

• Center Darko Milicic was back at practice after missing the past three games for the birth of his daughter.

• Guard Wes Johnson, who missed two games because of illness, was feeling better Sunday but not yet 100 percent. Still, he is expected to play Monday.

• Guard Wayne Ellington still was tending to a personal matter. But Wolves coach Kurt Rambis said Ellington would be back in time to play Monday.

• Forward Anthony Randolph (illness) was limited in practice Sunday. His status for Monday is unclear.

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