Grim news for injured Wolves Howard, Lee

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 20, 2012 - 11:19 PM
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Josh Howard shoots as Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes, right, and Dorell Wright defend.

Photo: Matt Slocum, Associated Press

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Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman says he doesn't believe in jinxes and curses, but ... his team's injuries just continued to multiply.

The Wolves waived veteran forward Josh Howard on Thursday after discovering he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in last Friday's game at New Orleans, and they might have lost guard Malcolm Lee for the season.

At 32, Howard, who averaged 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 11 games with the Wolves, is likely dealing with a career-ending injury. He worked out before Tuesday's game at Miami and said he expected his hyperextended knee would be healed enough so he could play Sunday at New York.

He found out differently on Thursday morning after tests revealed the torn ligament.

"You just feel for him," Adelman said of Howard, signed Nov. 15 after Chase Budinger suffered a serious knee injury of his own. "He was really going to help us. He was playing well. He worked hard. To have this come out of nowhere, I was just shocked. I know he was in shock when he found out."

So the Wolves once again played with just three healthy guards and no natural backup for starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko on Thursday against an Oklahoma City team that had the NBA's best record.

Lee, averaging 4.9 points in 16 games, would miss the rest of the season if he needs microfracture surgery on his knee. He was scheduled to get opinions from two doctors in New York this week.

Waiving Howard creates an open roster spot for a small forward who can defend. The options include signing swingman James Anderson, cut just Thursday by San Antonio, or a veteran sitting at home such as Michael Redd, who has had knee problems of his own; pulling a wing player such as Chris Douglas-Roberts or Coby Karl, who played on the Wolves' summer league team, from the Development League; or trading for a player such as Raja Bell, who is sitting home in exile from Utah.

"We better get someone back there, and I don't know who that is at this point," Adelman said. "We need some versatility at that point."

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