Wolves wait out word on Love

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 8, 2013 - 7:12 AM
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Timberwolves forward Kevin Love.

Photo: Jack Dempsey, Associated Press

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Timberwolves forward Kevin Love had his broken right hand examined by a local doctor Monday. But a final decision on treatment -- and a timetable for his return -- won't be available until Love's New York City-based specialist is consulted.

David Kahn, the Wolves president of basketball operations, said it's safe to assume that Love would be out for "a number of weeks."

"He'll still confer with the doctor in New York," Kahn said. "We don't have a game plan yet."

No decision has been made on whether surgery is an option; the team sent a copy of Love's magnetic resonance imaging exam to New York hand specialist Dr. Andy Weiland on Monday morning. Kahn indicated Love might not have to go to New York to get an opinion from Weiland, who was unavailable Monday.

The prospect of losing Love for an extended period has Kahn considering his options. The team has a roster spot available, but Kahn wasn't even ready to agree with the idea that a big man was the primary need. He said fluid situations with Chase Budinger's recovery from knee surgery and Brandon Roy's attempt at a new therapy for his right knee give the team needs at a number of positions.

"I still think we need to add some depth, perhaps everywhere," he said. "But, when you lose somebody with Kevin's production capabilities, it's a big hole to fill."

It's unlikely any free agent signed could fill that void, though Monday marked the first day NBA teams could sign available players to 10-day contracts. Kahn said he is talking to teams about potential trades, but it appears unlikely anything significant could get done with the Feb. 21 trading deadline still so far away.

"We're talking, as you can imagine, to a number of teams about possibilities," Kahn said. "But it's very difficult to make trades, especially significant trades, in the month of January. ... Typically the league is a deadline-driven league."

In the meantime, the team again will have to deal with a long stretch without Love.

"We had experience [with that] at the beginning of the season," said point guard Ricky Rubio, who is expected to return Tuesday. "There are things you can control and things, like injuries, that you have to deal with. There are two ways to do it. One, put your head down and let the other teams beat you. The other one is just, with the players [we have], step up and try to win as many games as we can."

One gone, two back

Wolves coach Rick Adelman missed Monday's practice for personal reasons, but Kahn said he expects Rubio and center Nikola Pekovic to play Tuesday against Atlanta. Rubio has missed four games because of back spasms, and Pekovic had to leave Saturday's loss to Portland because of a left hip strain.

Pekovic was held out of Monday's practice for precautionary reasons.

Rubio was limited to 16 to 18 minutes upon his return from knee surgery, a limit that was increased to more than 20 minutes right before the spasms hit. But Rubio went more than week without practicing, raising questions whether his minutes will have to be reduced.

"I feel good [but] tired after a week without practicing," Rubio said. "But I feel pretty good. I don't have pain in the back, or in the knee."

Rubio admitted he lost some conditioning during his time off. "I was working hard on that point. But, because of my back, I couldn't do anything the last week. So I lost a little bit. Plus I have a little cold.''

Assistant coach Terry Porter said he didn't expect Rubio's minutes limit to drop from where it was before he got hurt, but more would be known after Rubio and Adelman meet Tuesday.

Etc.

• Kahn said guard Malcolm Lee has opted for surgery on his right knee, but a date has not yet been set.

• Kahn had no update on Roy other than to say the veteran guard continues to get treatment on his right knee, and that Roy has been doing some light workouts. "Brandon will play when -- if and when -- he's ready to play," Kahn said.

• The Wolves announced a promotion where fans renewing season tickets for 2013-14, starting Jan. 16, will get a 10 percent reduction if this year's team fails to make the playoffs.

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