SAN ANTONIO - The Timberwolves sent starting center Nikola Pekovic home to Minnesota to seek new treatment for his two hurting ankles while his teammates wrap up a seven-game, 13-day road trip by playing the two best teams in the West.
Wolves coach Rick Adelman compensated Wednesday at San Antonio by starting rookie Derrick Williams alongside Kevin Love in a small lineup, while 7-foot Darko Milicic remained on the sideline and out of favor.
Milicic was inactive for Monday's victory against Golden State and its smallish lineup after he started Sunday at Sacramento but played only the first six minutes. He did not play in the two games before that and was inactive the game before. This season, he has missed games some nights because of a variety of injuries and other nights because Adelman has chosen not to play him.
"He hasn't done anything to really give you a lot of faith that he's going to go out and do the job," Adelman said of Milicic. "He's gotten himself out of shape. He hasn't been as driven as you'd like so when a situation like this happens, it's time for someone to have their opportunity and get back in there. Today, [Williams] going to get his chance and Anthony Randolph is going to get his chance and we'll see if any of those guys can step up."
Adelman then went out and relied on a small lineup that featured Love, Williams and Anthony Tolliver.
Surgery repairs two ligaments
Ricky Rubio underwent surgery Wednesday in Vail, Colo., that repaired both his anterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament. The LCL tear was not found until he arrived in Colorado, where noted knee surgeon Richard Steadman performed the operation.
The team called the operation "successful" in a news release. It has not put a timetable on Rubio's recovery, but such an injury usually requires six to nine months.
Wolves basketball boss David Kahn flew to Vail after Monday's game at Golden State to be with Rubio.
Playing without Pek
Pekovic played a little more than 11 minutes on Monday at Golden State and was in obvious pain, so the Wolves sent him home Wednesday after he had flown with the team from San Francisco to San Antonio on Tuesday.
Adelman said he's hopeful treatment will get Pekovic back by Sunday's home game by Denver.
"Even in that Golden State game, you saw the difference at both ends when he's on the court," Adelman said. "Even though he could hardly move in that game, he was hurting them around the basket, which opens it up for Kevin [Love] and our guards. We're hoping we get him back, but we want to be really careful with him because he's a tough guy. When he was limping around out there, you knew something was drastically wrong."
Beasley plays on
While Pekovic went home, forward Michael Beasley played Wednesday with that sprained big toe that he seems to aggravate each game. He played only 10 1/2 first-half minutes Monday because he said his foot stiffened on him during a 40-minute halftime ceremony in which the Warriors retired Chris Mullin's jersey.
"That long halftime kind of messed me up," he said. "Once it gets loose, I'm cool. Once I sit for 10, 15, 20, 40 minutes, the whole foot just locks up.
"I can move it better than the last couple games. It's just sore more than anything."
• One game after the Warriors retired Mullin's jersey, the Wolves were the guests Wednesday when the Spurs retired defensive ace Bruce Bowen's jersey. Only this time, the Spurs did it after the game rather than delay the game.