Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Wolves post-game. Injuries ultimately too much to overcome

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves postgame Updated: November 26, 2014 - 10:47 PM

Greetings for a final time from Target Center, where the Wolves played the Bucks even for three-plus quarters before collapsing in the fourth.

Some thoughts:

--The Wolves better hope Mo Williams is better by the time the Wolves play the Lakers on Friday. Zach LaVine had to play nearly 37 minutes tonight, and it wasn’t very pretty watching Andrew Wiggins or Corey Brewer trying to initiate the Wolves offense when LaVine was out.

LaVine had 12 points and four assists. But he made nearly as many mistakes as he did big plays, though I thought he played a little better than might have been expected. His biggest problem came down the stretch when Bucks point guard Brandon Knight took the game over.

--For all of you wondering why Shabazz Muhammad isn’t getting more minutes? He has to learn the offense better, according to Wolves coach Flip Saunders.  Muhammad brought great energy tonight, scoring 13 points in 16 minutes of playing time. But, after the game, Saunders said Muhammad needs to learn the plays better so he’s in the right place more often. That isn’t as much of a problem when there is a veteran point guard on the floor to help him get there. But it was a problem, at times, tonight.

--After the game Thaddeus Young, who played for the first time in six games, admitted there was some rust to be shaken off his game. Young, who missed five games after the death of his mother, made one of 10 shots tonight for three points.

--The Wolves got to the line 34 times tonight, but missed 13 of them. Saunders said that was an indication of how tight his young players were, given the strains the injuries and illnesses have put on the team.

--I know I’ve said it before, but I love how hard Corey Brewer plays. He had a season-high 19 points tonight, along with six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Unfortunately he also had seven turnovers, the result of asking a forward to play point guard.

That’s about all for now. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.

It's No-go for Mo Williams

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves pre-game Updated: November 26, 2014 - 6:32 PM

Greetings again from Target Center where the question of the night is: Who will play backup point guard for the Wolves tonight?

Ricky Rubio is already out. Wednesday veteran guard Mo Williams was unable to go because of a combination of strep throat and pink eye. That means rookie Zach LaVine will have to play lots and lots of minutes.

But, after him, who?

“Well, we have Zach,” Coach Flip Saunders said. “And then it’s going to be by committee. Corey Brewer, Chase Budinger. You might see point center Robbie Hummel. We’ll have to adjust a little bit with what we do.”

This could be quite a problem for the Wolves, who have to deal with Milwaukee guard Brandon Knight, who is off to a very good start this season.

The Wolves injury/illness situation has become somewhat absurd, with centers Nikola Pekovic and Ronny Turiaf and guards Rubio and Williams out.

Here are some other pre-game items:

--The Wolves will honor Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen at center court tonight for her being a part of the Team USA squad that won the world championship this fall. Whalen has now won two FIBA golds (2010 and 2014) and gold at the 2012 Olympics.

--The Wolves players wore pink shoelaces tonight to honor the memory of Thad Young’s mother, who died of breast cancer.

It's No-go for Mo Williams

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves pre-game Updated: November 26, 2014 - 6:32 PM

Greetings again from Target Center where the question of the night is: Who will play backup point guard for the Wolves tonight?

Ricky Rubio is already out. Wednesday veteran guard Mo Williams was unable to go because of a combination of strep throat and pink eye. That means rookie Zach LaVine will have to play lots and lots of minutes.

But, after him, who?

“Well, we have Zach,” Coach Flip Saunders said. “And then it’s going to be by committee. Corey Brewer, Chase Budinger. You might see point center Robbie Hummel. We’ll have to adjust a little bit with what we do.”

This could be quite a problem for the Wolves, who have to deal with Milwaukee guard Brandon Knight, who is off to a very good start this season.

The Wolves injury/illness situation has become somewhat absurd, with centers Nikola Pekovic and Ronny Turiaf and guards Rubio and Williams out.

Here are some other pre-game items:

--The Wolves will honor Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen at center court tonight for her being a part of the Team USA squad that won the world championship this fall. Whalen has now won two FIBA golds (2010 and 2014) and gold at the 2012 Olympics.

--The Wolves players wore pink shoelaces tonight to honor the memory of Thad Young’s mother, who died of breast cancer.

Mo Williams, still ailing, not at morning shoot-around.

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves injury report, Wolves players Updated: November 26, 2014 - 12:25 PM

Greetings from Target Center, where the Wolves just finished their morning shoot minus the still-ailing Mo Williams.

Williams, who missed practice Monday and Tuesday, is still questionable for tonight’s game. It will likely be a game-time decision. If he cannot play rookie Zach LaVine would likely move into the starting point guard spot. But then the question is who plays backup minutes there?

There are no other real ball-handling guards healthy enough to suit up. I would imagine coach Flip Saunders would use some combination of Andrew Wiggins, Corey Brewer or Shabazz Muhammad to handle the ball in a pinch.

Perhaps the Wolves could suit up Lindsay Whalen, who will be in the building being honored for her FIBA Gold Medal during tonight’s game. Just a thought.

Also out tonight: Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin of course. Centers Nikola Pekovic (wrist, ankle) and Ronny Turiaf (hip) are also out.

Meanwhile, Thaddeus Young will return to action for the first time in six games following the death of his Mother, Lula Hall, from breast cancer. Young was very honest and well-spoken about his ordeal on Monday, when he returned to practice for the first time.

On Tuesday the Wolves put out a statement from Young thanking friends, teammates and people from all around the league for their well-wishes. He also made a point of advocating for routine breast exams. “It is up to all of us to encourage women to get screened to help avoid the ravages of this deadly disease,” he said.

Tonight, after getting official permission from the league, all of the Wolves will wear pink shoelaces to raise awareness of breast cancer. The idea was spearheaded by team GM Milt Newton, who called the league to ask how the Wolves might honor Young's mother. 

“I just thing something needs to be done,” Young said after today’s morning shoot. “A lot of people they go throughout their lives without going to the doctor, without the proper procedures to get tested. … Me, personally, I think something should definitely be done, and people should urge other people to do so.’’

Young said his mother discovered her cancer not during a routine testing procedure but after finding a lump in her breast.

Young thanked Newton for securing permission from the league to wear the shoelaces, and to his teammates for showing their support.

“It was cool the league allowed us to do that,” Wolves rookie Zach LaVine said. “I was all for it, the whole team was all for it. It’s going to be special for [Young], and we’re going to go out there and play our hearts out.”

That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you pre-game with an update on Williams.

Thaddeus Young returns to practice for Wolves

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves practice news Updated: November 24, 2014 - 3:08 PM

Thaddeus Young is glad to be back with his teammates, and he’s eager to play again. But he is still mourning the loss of his mother. Lula Hall succumbed to cancer Nov. 13 in Memphis. Her funeral was last Friday. Young returned to the Twin Cities on Sunday.

“It’s still a situation where you still think about what happened with my mom,” Young said after Monday’s practice. “But my teammates and my coaches and the whole organization have been behind me every step of the way.I thank them for their thoughts and their prayers, each and every fan that’s reached out to me also, all the players around the league. It’s definitely a tragic thing, but you try to get back in the swing of things and just keep playing, making her proud.”

The Wolves were in the middle of their long road trip when Hall, who had battled cancer for some time, had a downturn. Young left the team after the Wolves played Houston in Mexico City on Nov. 12 and was able to get back home before his mother died.

“The last 10, 15 minutes of my mom’s life I was there holding her hand,” Young said. “I felt her last breaths as she passed away. I was just happy I was able to get home and see her before she passed.”

Young said his mom, who raised him and his siblings as a single parent, was a huge influence on his life, a disciplinarian when needed, a strong woman who sacrificed a lot to help her children. “She was my concentration, my focus,” Young said. “Everything. You just try to keep making her proud and keep going out there and doing the things that she taught me to do.”

Here are some other items from today’s practice:

--Wolves coach Flip Saunders had no updates on either center Nikola Pekovic (wrist, ankle) and guard Ricky Rubio (sprained ankle). Rubio is still in his protective boot, but he is down to one crutch.

--Guard Mo Williams was sick and missed practice.

--Guard Kevin Martin was scheduled to see a doctor Monday afternoon. After the visit, Saunders said, a plan of treatment – one that could include surgery – will be decided upon.

--Saunders said the team still hasn’t decided on whether to use an injury exemption to add a player to the roster. But if they do, he said, that addition will be a post player.

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