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.

Posts about Wolves guards

Decision on Rubio could come Saturday morning

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: December 13, 2012 - 2:12 PM

 It appears, as Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said Wednesday night, that the goal remains to have Ricky Rubio make his debut Saturday against Dallas at Target Center.

Not that anybody is anywhere near to confirming that.

After Thursday’s very light, no-contact practice, Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn, coach Rick Adelman and head athletic trainer Gregg Farnam met with Rubio courtside. But Adelman wasn’t revealing anything about that meeting.

“It’s like I told you last night,” he said. “Just evaluating it every day, and we’ll see what comes, you know?”

And that prompted what has become the usual round of questions circulating around the Rubio issue.

Does he look ready? Won’t know until he plays, Adelman said, but he hasn’t had any setbacks in practice.

Adelman said Rubio is being tested every day, and that a decision on whether or not he plays Saturday could be made that morning.

“There are a lot of things we’ve talked about, if he plays,” Adelman said. “What’s the schedule going forward from there? It’s just not Saturday, it’s how much do we want to play him?”

Starting Friday the Wolves have four games in five nights. After a day off the Wolves then hit a stretch with three games in seven days.

Still, Adelman said there have been discussions about how much Rubio will play to start with, how he will be used at first – off the bench or starting, for example.

“You have to look at it not just from Ricky’s point of view but from the whole team’s point of view and how it affects the other guys,” Adelman said. “We certainly have talked about if he starts, how do we do that? If he doesn’t start, how do I play him? If they put a minute limitation on him, how do we use those minutes the best way for him and the team? Those are all things we’ve talked about and as soon as we decide he’s going to play, then I’ll have to make that decision.”

 

 

Roy speaks

Brandon Roy, who had Nov. 19 surgery on his right knee, said he didn’t consider retirement when it was decided he’d have surgery.

Roy took part in Thursday’s practice, which doesn’t mean much. The team did little more than shoot. But the fact Roy said retiring didn’t cross his mind was interesting.

“No,” he said when asked about reports that he’d considered leaving the game again. “A few people asked me that, and I don’t pay attention much to the media. I don’t really read that stuff. But I don’t know where that could have come from. But no, I never thought about walking away. It was, for me, just do I want to go through another procedure or do I want to play through it. that was more my question than walking away.”

Roy said he’s been able to some running, participate in team warm-ups and do shooting drills. He has been spending a lot of time in the weight room working to get the strength back in his right leg.

That said, Roy did admit to some concern about the injury – which happened late in preseason – and the process of surgery and recovery. “There is always, I think, that small concern in the back of your mind,” he said. “But it felt good this week, and I think I’m trying to push it because I want to get to next week and see where it’s really at. But the good thing is it feels good. It feels like that nagging feeling I was feeling there early in the season, it feels like it’s gone. ‘’

It will likely be a while before Roy can really test the knee. Given the Wolves upcoming schedule, the team probably won’t have another full-contact practice until Dec. 21.

 

 

Etc.

--Malcolm Lee (hyper-extended right knee) did not practice and did not travel with the team to New Orleans.

--Forward/guard Josh Howard, who missed Wednesday’s game with an illness, should be ready to play Friday, Adelman said. 

Rubio will not play tonight vs. Denver

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: December 12, 2012 - 11:39 AM

Ricky Rubio will not make his long-awaited season debut tonight against Denver, the team says.

The next most likely return date is Saturday at home against Dallas, not Friday at New Orleans.

That's so he can make his return at home and so he doesn't have to face back to back games.

Kevin Love did address the media after shootaround with comments about what he said in yesterday's Yahoo! story and I'll have video and a new blog up shortly.

 

Kudos for the Wolves backcourt

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: December 4, 2012 - 9:41 PM

 I can’t remember the last time I watched a Wolves game when the backcourt, from start to finish, played better.  Maybe back in the 2003-04 season, when Sammy Cassell was rolling and Troy Hudson, though usually hurt, had an occasional strong game.

Malcom Lee didn’t miss a shot, didn’t turn the ball over and had an assist and 10 points. Luke Ridnour had 10 points and four assists. And then there was J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved. Barea had his first double-double of the season and Shved hit four of seven three-pointers on the way to a team-high 17 points.

The Wolves won easily, on the road against a winning team, on a night when Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic combined to shoot 5-for-17. It’s nights like this that makes you wonder how good this team can be once Ricky Rubio is back. Not to mention Andrei Kirilenko, who stayed home with back spasms.

“Malcolm and Luke got us going,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “Then J.J. and Alexey were great.”

That about sums this one up. Here are some other observations from tonight’s action:

 

--I think the fact that four of the five Wolves starters didn’t play in the fourth quarter will help the team tomorrow in Boston.

--I think Love, whose double-double streak ended at six after he shot 2-for-10, will have a bigger night Wednesday playing against Kevin Garnett.

--Josh Howard continues to improve as he gets his legs under him. He played a season-high 29:01, got his first double-double since April 10, 2009 and hit on seven of 12 shots {two of three three-pointers).

 

That’s about it for now. I’ll get back at you prior to Wednesday’s game with Boston. Have a good night. 

Lee returns to the lineup

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: December 4, 2012 - 11:49 AM

    PHILADELPHIA -- Malcolm Lee, who sat out the Timberwolves’ victory over Milwaukee Friday with a groin injury, is healthy and should start at the shooting guard spot tonight against Philadelphia.

 

 That would mean J.J. Barea would return to his position as coming off the bench to lead the second unit at point guard. It also gives coach Rick Adelman another good perimeter defensive player.

 Lee said he’l l have to monitor the injury going forward. “I think it happened because I got a contusion in one of the games, and I started compensating,” he said after Tuesday’s morning shootaround. “And that’s how I pulled {the groin muscle}.”

 With all the injuries, Lee has started about half of the team’s games this season. And while he’s still looking to become a regular contributor on the offensive end, his defense is something Adelman can rely on – and something Lee takes pride in. Night after night he is defending at one of the most difficult positions on the court.

 “Every game they give us a scouting report on tendencies,” Lee said. “I Just like to go over that and watch some film on it, know what they like to do. But I pretty much guard everybody the same – force them to their weak side -- and I try to body them. I don’t like to give them room.”

  

Here are some other items from today’s pre-game shoot:

 --The bug that hit Kevin Love proved to be a bit more tenacious than he expected. Love said he lost nearly 10 pounds during the process. He said he’s only been able to keep food down for the last 24 hours and didn’t get his appetite back until this morning.

 But Love – who missed the first part of the season with broken bones in his right hand – said he was finally able to return to the weight room for the first time on Monday. Now it’s a matter of getting his weight back up and his strength back. He’s not there yet.

 “It felt good to get back in the weight room after a six- or seven-week absence,” he said. “The hand needs to get there, I need to get my legs back under me. Hopefully, in a couple weeks, I won’t have to talk about that any more, I’ll be back in my rhythm.”

 --J.J. Barea said his left mid-foot sprain is still not 100 percent, and that it affects him every time he pushes off the foot to make a move or to attack the basket. “It lets me play,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll get there in the next couple weeks,” he said. “I think it’s improving, maybe a little bit at a time, but it’s slow. I’m waking up every day feeling a little better.”

 --Wolves’ president of basketball operations David Kahn was asked if the team would consider a brief stint in the NBA Development League as a part of Ricky Rubio’s return from knee surgery. “We haven’t talked about it yet internally,” he said. “It hasn’t even been broached.’’

 

 

Shved, defense the keys in Wolves victory

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: November 30, 2012 - 10:39 PM

  

The Wolves’ victory over Milwaukee Friday was not pretty, but there were some attractive signs of improved team play. Consider:

 

--The Wolves, even with Andrei Kirilenko (back) our and Kevin Love (flu) ailing, had a season-high 56 rebounds.

--A Wolves team that had been victimized by backcourts much of the season did a wonderful job on Milwaukee’s tandem of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, forcing that duo to take 41 shots in order to score 36 points.

--The Wolves played so well defensively they were able to go for six-plus minutes without a score in the third quarter and never lose their lead.

 

And then there was Alexey Shved. A rookie in name only, he continues to show a mettle that allows him to play well in tough situations. Friday he had 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, keying a huge 11-0 run that turned a one-point game into a breeze for the Wolves, who have now won two of their last three games.

 

Shved has now scored in double figures in consecutive games, and has scored 84 of his 156 points this season in the fourth quarters of games.

 

I know this is not necessarily news, but I can hardly wait to see Shved and Ricky Rubio playing together.  “He’s one of those guys, he has the same face, down 20, up 20, tie game,” J.J. Barea said. “He’ll always play the game the same way.”

 

Friday Shved hit two three-pointers in the fourth quarter – one from downtown with the shot clock about to run out – and made two very nice passes.

 

 

Other impressions:

--In a statistical oddity, the Bucks got a triple-double out of backup forward Larry Sanders, who tied a Bucks franchise record with 10 blocks to go with his 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Wolves went at him all night and he blocked shots in droves. But it wasn’t enough to stop an ailing Kevin Love (15 points, 14 boards) and center Nikola Pekovic (14-16) to combined for 29 points and 30 of the team’s season-high 56 rebounds.

--Ridnour scored 7 of his points in the fourth quarter on 2-for-4 shooting from the field and three free throws.

--Wolves guards Ridnour, Shved and Barea combined to shoot 17-for-32, score 47 points and dish out 12 assists.

 

That’s about it for now. The Wolves are not practicing Saturday, so Rubio’s first full-contact practice will come Sunday. Jerry Zgoda will be on hand to  bring you the news from that practice.

 

Have a good night. 

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