Kirilenko: A healthy contribution to injured Wolves roster

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 14, 2012 - 12:34 PM

The forward has avoided the Wolves' lengthy list of injured players, supplying stability and leadership at a critical juncture.

hide

Andrei Kirilenko, right

Photo: Jim Mone, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Down five injured men to start the evening and six by game's end, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman liked nearly everything about a 90-82 victory at Dallas and starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko's tireless 44-minute performance in which he played the entire second half.

Everything, that is, but the final 15 seconds of a long and productive night for the only healthy, true small forward on a team that now is without Chase Budinger for at least three months.

That's when Kirilenko -- learning nothing from last week's game against Orlando -- had the audacity to hustle with the night's outcome already decided.

Five days earlier, teammate J.J. Barea chased a loose ball into the scorer's table with his team ahead by 20 points in the fourth quarter and headed immediately into the locker room knowing he had injured his foot, a mid-foot sprain that has kept him sidelined for a week now.

This time, Kirilenko spread himself across the floor pursuing a steal with his team ahead by eight points and center Nikola Pekovic already out of the game for the night, the fourth consecutive game in which the Wolves lost a player to injury.

"The only thing I don't want Andrei doing is going on the floor for a loose ball with 15 seconds to go and having something happen," Adelman said. "There's a time and place for that and when we're up 8, don't do that."

Don't do that particularly now that Budinger will not return until February at the earliest after famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews repaired the torn lateral meniscus in his left knee in Florida on Tuesday. His lengthy absence has the Wolves pursuing adding a free-agent wing player -- Mickael Pietrus and Josh Howard among the possibilities -- who'd accept the veteran's minimum the Wolves can offer and who can back up Kirilenko.

Hustle is exactly what Kirilenko has provided in the season's opening seven games, when the Wolves produced the franchise's best season start by going 5-2 despite a list of injured that grows by the night.

When Pekovic left Monday's game late in the third quarter because of a sprained ankle, Kirilenko was the only one still standing from what was supposed to be the team's starting lineup.

Young stars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio started the season already on the injured list. Starting shooting guard Brandon Roy joined them at halftime of Friday's home victory over Indiana because of a sore knee that he banged for the second time in a week.

And Pekovic stepped on Dallas swingman Vince Carter's foot as the two harmlessly ran back down the court together, turned his ankle and fell in a painful heap that led him to declare thankfully after the game:

"I'm just glad it's not bad. I didn't hurt nothing, just a lot of pain."

So Adelman understandably grimaced when Kirilenko threw himself across the floor. In just about any other time and circumstance, a coach would have admired such a play and considered it punctuation on Kirilenko's performance: 16 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks and four turnovers.

Instead, Kirilenko afterward had this to say about Adelman's concerns: Guilty as charged.

"It's a tendency, I have to get rid of it," he said after Monday's game, shrugging rather sheepishly. "I've always been a player who tries to get maximum. I see ball on the floor, if I get a steal we might finish the game. But I probably should not fall down. We don't want to lose guys."

That list is already long enough.

Pekovic received treatment on his ankle Tuesday -- the Wolves, with only nine healthy players, were given the day off from practice -- and he will be evaluated at Wednesday morning's shootaround before a game against Charlotte.

Roy had hoped to play Wednesday, but now is targeting Friday for his return. Barea's availability will be determined Wednesday for a team that has persevered despite all their injuries and still is chasing Oklahoma City for the Northwest Division lead.

Getting players healthy rather than losing yet another would be a refreshing change. Through it all, though, the Wolves somehow, someway have kept winning.

"I would give credit for character," Kirilenko said, explaining the victory over a Dallas team missing Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. "Nobody looked down. Nobody felt sorry. Everybody just tried their best."

  • related content

  • Budinger could be out up to four months

    Tuesday November 13, 2012

    Wolves announce timeline after Tuesday surgery

  • Wolves win another game, lose another player

    Tuesday November 13, 2012

    Nikola Pekovic turned his ankle and left in the third quarter after scoring 20 points, but his teammates held on against Dallas.

  • Wolves-Charlotte game preview

    Wednesday November 14, 2012

    Preview: The 3-3 Bobcats, under new coach Mike Dunlap, ended a three-game losing streak with Saturday's 101-97 overtime victory over Dallas, then beat Washington 92-76 at home on Tuesday night....

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland 3 Top 11th Inning
Kansas City 1
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs 1 Bottom 8th Inning
St. Louis 10
Los Angeles 1 Bottom 8th Inning
San Diego 1
Milwaukee 0 Bottom 7th Inning
San Francisco 3
Oakland 0 Top 7th Inning
LA Angels 2
Washington 3 Top 7th Inning
Seattle 0
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 4th Qtr 0:48
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 27 4th Qtr 7:01
Oklahoma State 24
(14) Wisconsin 17 3rd Qtr
(13) LSU 7
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 3 1st Qtr 2:00
(3) Oregon 21
(25) Washington 7 1st Qtr 0:29
Hawaii 10
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 1st Half
San Jose 1
Portland 0 1st Half 15:00
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close