Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman knew something was wrong when backup point guard J.J. Barea chased a loose ball into the scorer's table late in Wednesday's victory over Orlando and walked away with an injured foot that will keep him out of at least two weekend games.
"I know he was very upset, called his own timeout and left," Adelman said. "He just walked by me. I guess he was done for the night. He said something about hurting his foot and left."
Barea walked straight into a two-game absence that started with Friday's home game against Indiana and will continue Saturday at Chicago.
Adelman said Barea will be evaluated again Sunday to see if he's ready to meet the team in Dallas for a Monday night game against the Mavericks, the team with which he won an NBA title in 2011.
Barea's sprained foot came three nights after was hit hard in the head on a drive to the basket against Toronto. Barea missed 25 games in last season's shortened 66-game schedule because of hamstring and ankle injuries.
"Everybody has to do a little more," Adelman said. "Seems like we just have a tendency to get injuries like this, J.J. especially. In the last year, he has just had all these little injuries that put him back. He was playing so well, too. He had a lot of confidence. He knew what he wanted to do. We felt real good about Luke [Ridnour] and him.
"It's just one of those things you hope he gets better within a week and he'll be back."
Backcourt Plan B
Adelman said he will go with point guards Will Conroy and Malcolm Lee backing up Ridnour because he wants rookie Alexey Shved to focus on playing the shooting guard spot.
"It's easier for him because they're going to put the [shooting] guard on him and he's better there," Adelman said. "Point guards put a little more pressure on you."
Lee entered the game to start the second quarter, joining Shved in a backcourt. Shved, who at age 23 has played in the Olympics and big Euroleague games, soon became the de facto point guard, finishing with 11 points and seven assists in 21 minutes. One of those assists came on Lee's only basket of the night, a layup to close out the third quarter.
The Wolves are honoring returning soldiers during the month of November that included "Military Night" on Friday, an evening that had special meaning for Wolves forward Dante Cunningham.
Both his parents served in the Air Force as mechanics for 30 years, and Cunningham spent part of his childhood at Andrews Air Force in Maryland hanging around Air Force One, the president's plane.
"To have two parents serve 30 years, their sacrifice alone, what they've done is an amazing feeling," Cunningham said.
No more surprises
Adelman talked briefly with the Los Angeles Lakers about their coaching job in spring 2011 before they hired Mike Brown, whom the Lakers fired after just five games on Friday.
"Five games into it is definitely a surprise," Adelman said. "I've stopped being surprised in this league. Anything can happen. Whoever gets the job has a chance to step in there and probably be successful real quick."