Wolves get boost from return of players, coach

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 30, 2013 - 4:13 PM

Nikola Pekovic, Alexey Shved and coach Rick Adelman return to try to turn around a 2-9 stretch.

hide

Nikola Pekovic (14) grimaced in pain.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Timberwolves potentially get back two starters and their head coach Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, not to mention perhaps a new sense of energy as they transition from a 2-9 record these past three weeks to a six-game home stand.

Center Nikola Pekovic and rookie guard Alexey Shved are expected to return from injuries for the first time in two weeks, or since the last time these two teams met at Target Center.

Coach Rick Adelman is back after missing 11 games to be with his wife while doctors were mystified by her seizures.

When Adelman last coached the Wolves, Ricky Rubio was on a tight minutes limit and still coming off the bench. Newcomers Mickael Gelebale and Chris Johnson hadn't yet signed a first 10-day contract, let alone a second one, as each player did Tuesday.

And the Wolves still were firmly in pursuit of a playoff spot with a 15-15 record that quickly disintegrated. Their current 17-24 record now leaves them five games out of the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff spot.

They enter the second half of their 82-game season Wednesday against a Clippers team that is chasing San Antonio and Oklahoma City for the NBA's best record.

Is there enough time left -- and will there be enough healthy bodies -- to make up for all that ground lost while Adelman was away and his team was decimated by injuries?

"We have to, that's reality," Adelman said. "It's not going to happen just because you get guys back. I told them, 'You've seen other teams -- New Orleans, Washington, all these teams -- really struggle and now they're playing well.' They're not the same team. We have to respond the way those teams have responded."

Pekovic will return to a regular starting role against the Clippers.

"Yeah, I think so," he said, smiling. "I hope nothing changed while I was gone."

Adelman said Tuesday he hasn't decided whether Shved or veteran point guard Luke Ridnour will start alongside Rubio.

Whether or not Shved starts after missing two weeks because of a sprained ankle, his presence gives the Wolves a fourth available guard. He also adds some much needed size to a backcourt otherwise comprised entirely of point guards.

Pekovic's return from a bruised thigh provides the physical presence the Wolves completely lack otherwise, particularly with Kevin Love (hand) still out until late March.

On Tuesday, Adelman wondered whether he can play Pekovic and Johnson together in a two-center lineup against opponents with the kind of physical centers Johnson struggles against.

Johnson is a player unique among the Wolves' big men, an athletic leaper who can get to the rim and reach those alley-oop passes that Rubio, Barea, Ridnour and Shved like to throw.

Adelman has coached Johnson before, back in training camp before Johnson was one of the team's final cuts.

"I'm glad we got him back," Adelman said. "I think he has a future. He does things none of our big guys do."

Adelman on Tuesday sounded like a coach who wants Johnson and Gelabale for the rest of the season. The Wolves will have to guarantee both players' contracts the rest of the season after the 10-day contracts they signed Tuesday expire. They'll also have to make a roster move 10 days hence to clear room for one if they intend to keep both players.

"You've got to give both those guys credit, that first game was incredible," Adelman said of a debut when the pair scored the Wolves' first 23 fourth-quarter points in a victory over Houston. "Watching them, I didn't think we'd lose again."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 13 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Gray 5
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 6
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How do you like the Kevin Love trade?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close