Budinger's knee could keep him out for two months

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 12, 2012 - 7:00 AM

The injury is generally not as serious as a ligament tear, so this is almost certainly not a season-ending injury.


Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune file

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As Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said so succinctly Saturday night, there is no reprieve coming from the NBA. Nobody is going to feel sorry for them.

"So we've got to keep playing," he said. "I don't have much else to say."

Chase Budinger had been helped from the floor during the fourth quarter of the Wolves' loss in Chicago, and the team confirmed Sunday that his injury was serious. Budinger, an energetic forward, suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee.

Surgery will be scheduled shortly, after which a timetable for his return will be established. The injury is generally not as serious as a ligament tear, so this is almost certainly not a season-ending injury. But Budinger could be out as much as two months.

That makes an already thin roster even thinner. Budinger was not available for comment, but on his Twitter account, he posted Sunday, "Thanks for all the prayers everybody."

The Wolves started the season with Kevin Love out because of a broken hand and guard Ricky Rubio rehabbing his surgically repaired knee. Then J.J. Barea sprained his foot. Brandon Roy sat out Saturday because of a sore knee.

There is a chance Roy's knee will improve enough for him to play Monday. But Barea, still recovering, will not be in Dallas to face his old team Monday.

Since Adelman might not have five of the top seven players on his roster, look for some strange combinations Monday against a Mavericks team that -- without forwards Dirk Nowitzki (knee surgery) and Shawn Marion (sprained knee) -- is pretty banged up, too.

In the short term, Alexey Shved likely moves into the starting lineup should Roy be unavailable. Adelman had been using Shved and Malcolm Lee together with the second unit.

Lee scored nine points on 4-for-6 shooting Saturday, with two assists and a block. Shved shot only 3-for-11, but he had six assists to only one turnover and added five rebounds.

"He's more confident," Adelman said of Shved before Saturday's game. "I think he knows what we want him to do."

The problem is that, without Roy, Shved is the team's only true shooting guard. Adelman may have to concoct a guard rotation that includes Luke Ridnour, Shved, Lee and perhaps Will Conroy.

Then there is the question of finding players to fill minutes at small forward behind starter Andrei Kirilenko.

Derrick Williams, who has been playing at power forward with Love out, figures to get a lot of time there, with Dante Cunningham playing more power forward. Shved, too, could be used at small forward in small doses.

Quick returns by Roy and Barea would make life easier for Adelman. Still, Wolves boss David Kahn might be tempted to consider adding a veteran wing player. Among free agents available are Mickael Pietrus, who most recently played for Boston, and Josh Howard, who played for Utah last season. Another option would be trying to trade for Raja Bell, who is under contract with the Jazz but not currently with the team.

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