Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic missed his third consecutive game, will miss the team's upcoming two-game road trip and might require ankle surgery after the season is over.
The problem? Bone spurs on his right ankle -- the result of a years-old injury, he said -- that is causing him significant pain. The hope is that Pekovic, who is wearing a protective boot on the ankle, will be able to play out the season once the inflammation and pain ease. He hopes to return to action Friday against Boston.
"I will try to rest, try to calm it down and then play more games all the way to the end," Pekovic said. "Then, in the summer, maybe do something."
There is no question that the grind of the compressed season, combined with Pekovic's increased playing time as the season went on, contributed to the pain and inflammation he has experienced. And while he is leaning toward having surgery, Pekovic said he will seek a second opinion before making that decision.
"I saw only one doctor here," Pekovic said. "I'm going to see one more, see what he will say. If they match up, [surgery is] probably what I would do."
Meanwhile, the Wolves were showing the wear and tear of the seven-game road trip, which ended with a double-overtime loss in Oklahoma City. Guard Luke Ridnour played in Sunday's 117-100 victory over Denver despite a sore lower back, but guard J.J. Barea did not play a game after his triple-double against the Thunder.
Barea, who has a right thigh contusion, tried to loosen his leg during pregame warmups but was unable to go. More about his status will be known after Monday's practice.
Rubio leaving hospital
According to Wolves owner Glen Taylor, rookie point guard Ricky Rubio, who had surgery to repair torn anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee Wednesday, was scheduled to leave the Vail, Colo., hospital Sunday.
Taylor said Rubio would remain in Vail so he can get a one-week checkup before returning to the Twin Cities. He also said the team has medical personal with Rubio, getting some insights for his rehabilitation.
Karl on Love, Rubio
Rave reviews for Wolves star Kevin Love have become commonplace. But few are as well-spoken as Denver coach George Karl, who had this to say before Sunday's game when asked about Love's 51-point game Friday against Oklahoma State:
"I think we used to call him a poor man's Larry Bird," Karl said, referring to the former Celtics great. "I think you can take 'poor man' off that comparison now."
Karl, as you might recall, did his own little tribute after Rubio was injured March 9. Before the Nuggets' next game, during a pregame meeting with reporters, he wore an FC Barcelona jersey in Rubio's honor.
"That was my shout-out to Rubio," Karl said. "Saying, 'Hey, I feel bad.' I mean, when I saw him hurt his leg, I kinda knew it was an ACL. He was having such a great year. He has such energy, not only for his own team, but I thought he was giving an energy to the NBA."