Budinger, Love hoping for good news on injuries

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 7, 2013 - 12:10 AM

Chase Budinger hopes to be given clearance to practice next week.

Photo: MARLIN LEVISON • mlevison@startribune.com ,

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Injured Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger will speak by phone with his Florida knee surgeon Tuesday, hopeful he’ll be cleared to practice again with his teammates soon thereafter.

On Wednesday, two-time All Star Kevin Love will revisit his New York City surgeon seeking clearance to play with a healing right shooting hand he has broken not once but twice this season.

Both could be back playing games within two weeks, three weeks at most for Budinger.

With such similar timetables, could both such long-awaited returns possibly come on the same night?

“You never know,” Love said. “You never know.”

Either way, both hope to play at least the season’s final 15 games, Love perhaps a little more than that.

Love said he’ll join the team in Houston the Friday after his Wednesday’s doctor’s visit. He said he won’t play immediately that night even if he does get doctor’s clearance —like he did when he came back the first time in November — because he had surgery this time, on Jan. 15.

But probably not too terribly long after that …

“It’s really up to the doctor and myself and Glen and David,” he said, referring to owner Glen Taylor and basketball President David Kahn. “But until I see what the doctor says, I just won’t know.”

What would Ricky do?

Budinger said he expects to play a game within two to three weeks and said Ricky Rubio’s return from a different kind of knee surgery has encouraged him about his own comeback.

“It feels great to see him and see how well he’s progressing since when he first came back,” said Budinger, who sustained a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee on Nov. 10 at Chicago. “You saw he was babying it a little bit at first. He says just take your time and really focus on rehab and getting it strong. Just really take your time. Like he says, time heals all.”

Also out injured…

Wolves starters Andrei Kirilenko (strained calf) and Nikola Pekovic (abdominal strain) on Wednesday sat out the first of three games they’ll miss this week. They’ll both be re-evaluated after Sunday’s game against Dallas.

Wizards rookie Bradley Beal did not play because of a sprained ankle sustained Sunday against Philadelphia.

Turning back the clock

Former Wolves coach Randy Wittman returned to Target Center on Wednesday leading a Wizards team that has four coaches who were part of that 2003-04 Wolves team that reached the Western Conference semifinals during Kevin Garnett’s MVP season.

Wittman, Don Zierden and Jerry Sichting all were part of Flip Saunders’ coaching staff and Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell starred alongside Garnett and Latrell Sprewell.

“That team we had that year was a special team,” Wittman said. “One that we didn’t get to finish the deal, but one that we took this franchise the farthest it has ever been and was on cusp of making the finals.”

One more comeback story

Former Wolves swingman Martell Webster returned to Target Center — but his Mohawk hairdo didn’t, thankfully — as well on Wednesday. He came back healthy and starting and shooting 45.2 percent on threes after suffering through two injury-filled seasons at Minnesota that forced the Wolves to strike a financial compensation deal with Portland.

The Wolves contended the Blazers traded them damaged goods in the June 2010 trade that brought Webster to Minnesota.

“He’s a good player and he’s having a good year for them, shooting in the 40s [percentage] for the threes,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “I think last year because of the injuries and his rhythm he still shot 35 percent, which would be historic for us.”

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