At point guard, Wolves need miracle -- or rookie Lee

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 4, 2012 - 5:18 PM

Luke Ridnour's sprained ankle narrowed options even more as the team prepared for Golden State.


Malcolm Lee

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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So where do the Timberwolves turn now?

Rick Adelman and Terry Porter, as fine as they were at point guard back in the day, probably are out as well after Luke Ridnour sprained his ankle late in Monday's third quarter at Sacramento and is doubtful for Wednesday's home game against Golden State.

If Ridnour can't play Wednesday -- his use of crutches after Monday's game and on Tuesday's plane flight home suggests he could be out awhile -- the Wolves have two options:

• Rely on unproven rookie Malcolm Lee, as they did for the entire fourth quarter Monday.

• Or sprinkle some healing water straight from Lourdes on veteran guard J.J. Barea's bruised thigh that has caused him to miss the past six games.

"I hope so, I hope he's all right," Adelman said after Monday's 116-108 loss when asked about finding a fast-working miracle cure for a player who has been injury prone all season. "We'll find out when we get there. It's something we didn't need."

Ridnour, despite playing with a sore back and hurting groin, carried the Wolves at that position since Ricky Rubio went down clutching his knee's torn ligaments nearly a month ago.

Then Ridnour went down clutching his ankle himself after landing on another player's foot following a drive to the basket.

Just when the Wolves got center Nikola Pekovic back Monday for a 17-point, 19-minute performance, they go and lose Ridnour. Without him, the Wolves started the fourth quarter trailing by one, then allowed 11 unanswered points that decided the game.

Ridnour is considered questionable for Wednesday's game.

"Seems like it's happening all the way around," Adelman said of injuries that now include Ridnour, Barea, Michael Beasley and of course Rubio. "We get Pek back for some short minutes and lose Luke probably for awhile, but we'll find out."

In an instant, Lee has gone from little-used backup to the only guy left standing at point guard unless Barea returns to play major minutes Wednesday.

"It's going to be a big challenge, but I'm looking forward to it," Lee said. "This is why you've just always got to stay ready. This game is so up and down. You just never know."

Little-used center Brad Miller was a surprise starter Monday night against a Kings team for which he played nearly six seasons.

Adelman said he called upon Miller not for sentimental reasons, but because he didn't want power forward-turned-center Kevin Love defending the bigger DeMarcus Cousins.

So with Adelman uncertain how much or how well Pekovic might play in his first game in nearly two weeks, Miller started and scored 11 points -- including three three-pointers --in his first eight minutes.

After that inspired, unexpected performance, hey, maybe he can play point guard, too.

"It has been a long time, back to middle-school days," Miller said. "I probably doubt it."

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