Pekovic opts for surgery on ankle at season's end

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 17, 2012 - 6:27 PM

Wolves center Nikola Pekovic has decided to have postseason surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle.

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Nikola Pekovic tried to go up for a layup.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

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INDIANAPOLIS - Wolves center Nikola Pekovic has decided to have postseason surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle.

He has not decided when he will have the surgery or who will perform it. But his plans are to return home to Europe for two weeks immediately after the season ends before returning to the United States to have the surgery. Pekovic said he will split his rehab between here and Europe.

Until then, Pekovic said, he will finish this season playing in the Wolves' final games. He had 10 points and four rebounds Monday in a 111-88 loss to Indiana.

"It's something that will help me to be healthy next season," he said. "It will help me and my team and everything. I know without that trouble, I'll be more calm, not thinking about it. And hopefully, not miss any games."

Pekovic established himself as a valuable center for the Wolves once he got his chance to play. Pekovic, who entered Monday's game against the Pacers averaging 13.5 points per game, averaged 17.4 in March. During one stretch in early March, Pekovic scored 20 or more points in five consecutive games, getting double figures in rebounds in three of them.

Then his ankle flared up because of a years-old injury, and after that he had to deal with a bout of bronchitis. Together those issues stopped Pekovic's momentum. It hasn't been until very recently, Pekovic said, that he has felt close to being back in shape.

Having established himself as a player, Pekovic said he can't wait for next season, which he hopes he will play without pain.

"I'm looking forward to not thinking about this, like I do every time [the ankle] hurts," he said.

Returning home

Brad Miller has had a chance to say goodbye to a lot of folks this season, his 14th and final season in the NBA. But no moment was as personal as Monday's.

The Wolves center grew up in Kendallville, Ind., which is a couple hours' drive from Indianapolis. He played college ball at Purdue and he played two seasons here with the Pacers. So it's no surprise that Miller's locker was surrounded by local reporters before the game, nor that he played a season-high 25:20, scoring five points. Miller said he bought more than 60 tickets for the game.

"There's a whole crew of cars coming down [Interstate] 69 right now," he said.

Etc.

• Wolves guard Luke Ridnour is one of six divisional finalists for the 2011-12 NBA sportsmanship award. The others are Antawn Jamison (Cleveland), Jason Kidd (Dallas), Chris Paul (Clippers), Shane Battier (Miami) and Jeremy Lin (New York).

• Wolves coach Rick Adelman had no update on Kevin Love (concussion), whose return this season is looking doubtful. Adelman did say Ridnour (ankle sprain) expects to return before the season ends.

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