Fresh off a winless four-game southern road trip, the Wolves felt the need to shake things up Thursday night for a TNT game against the Clippers, so they moved Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams into the starting lineup and prepared to sign European swingman Mickael Gelabale on Friday.
It was Rubio's first start of the season in his 11th game back from March knee surgery.
He started in the backcourt alongside veteran guard Luke Ridnour, who was moved to shooting guard while shooting guard Alexey Shved and power forward Dante Cunningham moved back to reserve roles.
"We're in search of, trying to find different things," said Wolves acting head coach Terry Porter, who worked his sixth consecutive game while head coach Rick Adelman remains away from the team. "A lot of things have been tossed out. That [starting Rubio] is one of them."
Porter said Adelman made the starting lineup decisions even though he remains beside his wife, Mary Kay, at a local hospital.
Rubio's playing-time limit was increased Thursday from its previous 22 to 24 minutes to a 26- to 28-minute range, Porter said. Rubio said after Monday's game that he feels ready to play more.
"The last two games -- his confidence, his body language -- he has made good strides," Porter said.
Gelabale to sign
The Wolves formally will sign Gelabale, 29, on Friday after Lazar Hayward's 10-contract expires.
"He deserves to be in this league," said Clippers center Ronny Turiaf, who played with Gelabale on the French Olympic team in London last summer. "People are always trying to put other people in boxes. He is a basketball player. He can score. He's going to do whatever he has to do to help the team win. Yes, he can play defense, but he's not just a defender."
Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford -- an early leader in the clubhouse for the NBA's Sixth Man award -- visited with injured Wolves guard and longtime friend Brandon Roy on Wednesday in Minneapolis.
"His spirits were good, he seemed pretty normal to me," Crawford said. "I saw how hard he worked this summer. He inspired me to work this summer, know what I mean?"
The Clippers on Thursday played for the third consecutive game without All-Star guard Chris Paul, who's out with a bruised knee. Paul and teammate Blake Griffin were announced as All-Star Game starters in Houston next month in a special TNT show that preceded Thursday's game.
Looks like Wolves assistant coach Bill Bayno won't fulfill the final days of that 10-day contract to which Porter jokingly said they signed him on Wednesday.
The Wolves enlisted Bayno and assistant Shawn Respert for practice help because they had only eight healthy players.
On Thursday, Bayno could barely walk because of a bad back.