Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic is headed home to Montenegro after getting his surgically repaired ankle checked by a New York City doctor on Thursday and is expected to return to the court and to Minnesota by July, or about the earliest Ricky Rubio might head home to Spain while he rehabilitates his surgically repaired knee.
Rubio returned in early May to the Vail, Colo., surgeon who repaired his torn knee ligaments in March and will go back for another checkup the third week of June. Rubio will discuss with Dr. Richard Steadman then about going home to Barcelona to continue his rehab.
Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said Thursday that Rubio will stay in Minnesota until at least early to mid-July and he said the team will send a therapist with Rubio to Spain if he gets approval to go home for the rest of the summer.
"The doctors will determine that -- not myself, not the organization, not Ricky," Kahn said. "If he does, he will be accompanied to do his rehab every single day. It's just too important. I'm sure there are qualified people to do it there, but we will send someone with him there."
Kahn visited with Rubio earlier this week. "He's starting to look, I don't want to use the word 'normal,' but there's no crutches, no heavy limp," Kahn said. "He just looks the same now, which is nice to see."
Pekovic expects to be healthy enough to practice and work out by July after he had bone spurs removed from his ankle. He said at the end of the season in April that he expects to be fully ready for the start of training camp in late September.
Kahn said it's "still too early" to put a timetable on Rubio's return.
"It has only been 10 weeks, all these timetables are not necessary," Kahn said after the Wolves held the first of two days of predraft workouts attended by nearly every NBA team at Target Center. "It's only May 31. We've got June, July, August, September, so much time still to go. We're not focused at all -- and I don't think he is, either -- on milestones at this point. It's just about getting healthy."
One month and counting
NBA executives Larry Bird, Mitch Kupchak, Rod Thorn, John Hammond and Rick Sund were among the more famous names and faces at Target Center on Thursday, when the first of four groups of potential second-round draft prospects worked out, a group that included Northwestern's John Shurna, Duke's Miles Plumlee, Texas' J'Covan Brown and Baylor's Quincy Acy.
The Wolves will bring in prospects -- between six and eight, Kahn estimates -- for the team's 18th overall pick after next week's scouting combine in Chicago, even though the team will try to trade that pick for an experienced NBA player before the June 28 draft.
"That has to be part of the thinking as we determine what to do," Kahn said when asked about trading the pick away from a team lopsided with young players. "I wouldn't say one way or the other. It's reality."