In a preseason in which just about everything he does will be given the milestone tag, Brandon Roy achieved another one Thursday. He woke up from his first NBA game after a year off due to knee problems, didn't feel particularly sore, and took full part in practice.
"Came out of it good," he said after playing 24 minutes in the Timberwolves' preseason opener, a victory over Indiana on Wednesday night in Fargo, N.D. "It's just a bunch of steppingstones. I was looking forward to the first game, we got a little live practice in today, felt good, went through everything. Just continuing to try to build on everything."
Roy admitted to savoring the experience Wednesday. He talked at length on the phone with family members and friends after the game. He said he got texts from friends and fellow players. Even members of the Pacers were expressing their happiness at Roy's return to the league. Roy said he spent a while talking with friend Jamal Crawford, who is with the Los Angeles Clippers in China.
Wolves coach Rick Adelman said Roy looked very good offensively, especially considering his long layoff. Friend and teammate Will Conroy agreed.
But Conroy sees that Roy can still get a lot better, referring to a move Roy made Wednesday night.
"He drove hard left, had Lance Stephenson on his shoulder. He bumped him off, but misses the pull-up [jumper]," Conroy said. "When he starts getting that shot back is when I'll know he's back."
Adelman said he didn't know if Roy would play in Friday's game at Indiana. The Wolves also play Saturday.
Now that his return to the court is out of the way, Roy said he can concentrate on being ready for the season opener.
"Hopefully I can settle in and look forward to each game without feeling like, 'OK, this is a first,'" he said.
Center Nikola Pekovic said his improved conditioning -- he trimmed his body fat from 12 to 8 percent following offseason ankle surgery -- was evident as Wednesday's game progressed. Pekovic scored 14 points while getting rugged Pacers center Roy Hibbert into foul trouble.
"I just feel good," Pekovic said. "It's been so long since my last game. I had surgery, and I had to recover and all of that. But I can be happy with my first game."
One position at a time
Alexey Shved got his first taste of an NBA game, coming off the bench to play nearly 21 minutes at off guard. Shved, whose English seems to improve daily, said it was a thrilling moment for him, even if it was an exhibition game.
"I didn't make points, but I made some passes for the team. We won. Everything was good," he said.
"It was one of the best moments, for sure. For basketball, this is the best league, everybody wants to play. And this was the first time for me."
There had been talk of having Shved split time at both guard positions. But Adelman said he has decided to let Shved focus on shooting guard for now.
Luke Ridnour (back) is feeling better and was scheduled to travel with the team to Indiana. His playing status will be determined Friday. Malcolm Lee (groin) remained in the Twin Cities getting treatment.