The Wolves got some good news with Brandon Roy's first return to practice since Nov. 19 surgery on his right knee.
Coach Rick Adelman expressed surprise at how good Roy looked. Roy said he felt no pain in the knee.
"I feel really good about how the game went," said Roy, who hasn't played since Nov. 9. "I moved around. I didn't feel any pain in the knee. ... In the back of my mind I was wondering how I'd respond. But everything went fine today. I think if you were watching, you might have thought I was never even injured. So, for me, it was a great day."
Roy said he asked free-agent guard and childhood friend Will Conroy to come to Minnesota to help him work out in the week before returning to practice. They spent hours together, including some intense one-on-one, full-court scrimmages.
So how does that translate into a timetable for his return? Roy wouldn't set a date. But he did say he was getting closer. The Wolves have two days off after Sunday's game and could get in at least one practice. There will be two more days off after the Houston game.
"Hopefully after the Houston game we'll get some more practice in," Adelman said. "And then we'll see where he's at."
Roy's return couldn't come at a better time, given the Wolves' need for depth on the perimeter. "If Brandon comes back and he can play, he gives us help at the two and the three," Adelman said. "He can play behind Andrei [Kirilenko] at the three [small forward]."
What of Howard's spot?
Wolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn said the team worked out a player Saturday and will work out another Wednesday in the quest to replace Josh Howard, who was released after the team learned of his torn knee ligament. Kahn wouldn't say who had worked out and wouldn't say whether the team would work out more than two players.
He did say he didn't expect a signing until "late next week at the earliest."
"One of the funny things is that it's almost like there is a help-wanted sign posted," Kahn said. "We've been inundated with calls, [including] a couple of names we probably hadn't thought of."
• Specialists in New York have recommended knee surgery for Malcolm Lee, and he is deciding on a course of action Surgery, Kahn said, is likely. And Lee is probably done for the season.
• Kahn said Ricky Rubio's minutes could be increased as soon as Sunday.
• Kahn said Conroy, released last month, will do some work with the team in the coming months -- including some scouting in the Development League -- before returning to school in April.