Pekovic out 7-10 days, injured Wolves aim to add two

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 19, 2013 - 11:27 AM

The team is expected to sign 6-7 Mickael Gelabale and another big man prior to Saturday's game.

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Nikola Pekovic (14) grimaced in pain after a play in the third quarter on Thursday. He'll be sidelined for at least a week.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn was trying to fill not one but two roster spots Friday. Acting head coach Terry Porter was trying to figure out how to move forward with two more players hurt. Both were trying to convince remaining healthy players that things aren't as bad as they seem.

Just another day at Target Center.

The Wolves asked for and were granted an injury roster exception by the NBA, given to teams with at least four players out for more than two weeks. Couple that with Lazar Hayward's expired 10-day contract and Kahn has two roster spots he can fill. And he needs to do so.

Center Nikola Pekovic is out for seven to 10 days because of a right quad contusion incurred Thursday against the Clippers. Guard Alexey Shved, who turned his left ankle in the same game, is day-to-day, though he will almost certainly miss Saturday night's game with Houston.

So Kahn was looking to fill spots and Porter -- with twice-a-day input from Rick Adelman -- was trying to figure out a starting lineup and rotations.

"I'm hopeful -- and nothing has been finalized yet -- that we can have a couple things consummated in time for the game [Saturday]," Kahn said. "If all goes well, we'll have a fuller bench."

One spot should be filled with 6-7 swingman Mickael Gelabale. The 29-year-old small forward played two seasons with Seattle from 2006 to 2008 and most recently played in Spain. Gelabale is in town but wasn't signed Friday because Kahn was waiting for clearance from FIBA, the sport's international federation. That could be done in time for Gelabale to take part in Saturday's morning shootaround. Kahn said should Gelabale sign, it will be for a 10-day deal.

The second spot, utilizing the league's injury exception, must be filled via a 10-day contract. Kahn said that, with luck, he would get someone signed sometime Saturday. That spot will likely go to a big man. As Kahn said, with Love and Pekovic out, the Wolves are "thinner than thin" on the frontcourt.

Porter will continue to lead the team for the near future as Adelman tends to his ill wife, Mary Kay. Friday Kahn said Adelman will not return in the near term. "I think what Rick would like to do is make certain that his family situation is stabilized so that, if he does return, he feels it will be [permanent]," Kahn said.

Porter made it clear that no decision is made without Adelman's input and approval. One thing is certain: Any new faces will play immediately.

"There will be no settling in for them," Porter said. "They're going to be thrust into the frying pan right away."

Gelebale will give Porter a bigger man to defend on the perimeter. Any new big man will be asked to defend in the post and rebound.

Meanwhile, both Kahn -- who spoke to the team Friday morning -- and Porter went to great lengths to address the team's mood. Kahn stressed that, with the Wolves (16-20) only one game out of a playoff spot in the loss column, things were not as grim as they seem.

"There is always ... the-sky-is-falling mentality when you lose five games in a row," he said. "We need to win a game. And if we don't win [Saturday], we need to win the next one. There are 46 games left to play."

Added Porter: "We have to talk about staying together, working together and keeping our eye on the big picture. ... We have to believe that we have enough to win games."

Etc.

• Love will remain in New York up to 10 days for rehab following hand surgery.

• Therapy is going well for Brandon Roy's right knee, but Kahn said if the guard returns, it wouldn't occur in the next couple of weeks.

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