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 players

Pekovic, Martin questionable for tonight

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: March 2, 2015 - 12:42 PM

It was a very frustrated Nikola Pekovic who – after watching but not participating in the Wolves’ morning shoot – talked about that sore right foot/ankle that could keep him out of tonight’s game.

Still sore, Pekovic said he would decide on his availability for the game after trying to warm up pre-game.

“We’ll see,” he said.

But, one way or another, this injury – something that has been bothering Pekovic for a long time -- is going to impact the rest of this season, at least. It could be that the stretch run this year will be much like last season’s, when the soreness caused Pekovic to miss 28 of the final 38 games. Even if he’s able to manage the pain and return, Pekovic said that some sort of minutes limit will have to be enforced by coach Flip Saunders.

“I’m going to have to go back on that [minutes limit],” he said. “I’m not really happy with that. But if that’s going to be help me get through the season, probably Flip’s going to do it.’’

That said, Pekovic sounded like a man fed up with the process. All it took was a simple question: How frustrated are you? “A lot, a lot, a lot, a lot,” he said. “It’s been a long, long, long, long time. A year.  I’ve almost been a year dealing with this. It’s going up and down. It was better during the summer. When you kind of rest it, it’s always better. But you start working….

“It’s kind of tough, mentally, to have to go through all this. You want to play, but it just doesn’t let you. Your foot doesn’t let you go. … It’s just tough dealing with this every day.’’

Pekovic has tried stretching. He has tried modifying his warm-up routing. He said today that he has taken shots for the inflammation. After the season he said he will seek more opinions from specialists on how to deal with this ongoing problem. “Right after the season is done, I’ll try to figure out what to do,” he said.

Here are some other notes from this morning:

--Shooting guard Kevin Martin missed the shootaround due to illness, and he is listed as questionable for tonight’s game with the Clippers.

--Those 1,000 tickets Kevin Garnett bought for fans were scooped up in about 3 minutes this morning. It was, Garnett said, the least he could do. “Just a way of showing my appreciation,” Garnett said. “I’m always looking to be innovative, try things from an original standpoint. I’m excited to be back here. And, though I can’t thank everybody, in appreciation I liked to show some type of gesture. And this is the way I chose to show it.’’

--But on the subject of his two technical and his ejection from Saturday’s loss to Memphis Garnett was less loquacious. “That’s over with,” he said. “I’m not speaking on that.”

That’s about all for now. I’ll get back to you before the game. 

Players react to Garnett news

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: February 19, 2015 - 4:33 PM

The deal hasn’t been officially announced. But there is still a lot of reaction coming out of Target Center when it comes to the Garnett trade. We had a chance to catch up with a few players after today’s practice, and here are some samples of what they were saying:

--Kevin Martin, the wily vet, knows the impact Garnett will have, both on and off the court. “That locker room is going to be turned upside down,” Martin said. “He’ll definitely put his handprint on it. That’s what we needed in the locker room, somebody who ‘s been through it all, a Hall of Famer. And intense like he is, it’s definitely going to change.’’

--Guard Ricky Rubio plans on watching Garnett closely: “I’m going to be with my notebook and see whatever he does,” Rubio said. “Whatever he say, we’ll listen and do it, he’s going to have a voice in the locker room and we’ll learn a lot from him. It’s great. Not just because he did great things here, he’s been one of the greatest ever in this sport. I’m happy to be his teammate.

--Rookie Andrew Wiggins, who was 12 when Garnett was traded away back in 2007, can hardly wait to start learning from Garnett. “ He’s one of the all-time greats,” Wiggins said. “The best player to ever come to this franchise, the Timberwolves. So it will be great. He’ll teach me a lot. Practices will be intense. I’m looking forward to it.”

--Chase Budinger knows what Garnett means to Minnesota. “It’s special for the fans here,” he said. “It’s special for the city. He’s done such a great job over his career and I think it’s just pretty cool for him to come back and finish up his career here.”

Garnett expected to impact Wolves on and off the court

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: February 19, 2015 - 4:07 PM

The deal hasn’t been officially announced. But there is still a lot of reaction coming out of Target Center when it comes to the Garnett trade. We had a chance to catch up with a few players after today’s practice, and here are some samples of what they were saying:

--Kevin Martin, the wily vet, knows the impact Garnett will have, both on and off the court. “That locker room is going to be turned upside down,” Martin said. “He’ll definitely put his handprint on it. That’s what we needed in the locker room, somebody who ‘s been through it all, a Hall of Famer. And intense like he is, it’s definitely going to change.’’

--Guard Ricky Rubio plans on watching Garnett closely: “I’m going to be with my notebook and see whatever he does,” Rubio said. “Whatever he say, we’ll listen and do it, he’s going to have a voice in the locker room and we’ll learn a lot from him. It’s great. Not just because he did great things here, he’s been one of the greatest ever in this sport. I’m happy to be his teammate.

--Rookie Andrew Wiggins, who was 12 when Garnett was traded away back in 2007, can hardly wait to start learning from Garnett. “ He’s one of the all-time greats,” Wiggins said. “The best player to ever come to this franchise, the Timberwolves. So it will be great. He’ll teach me a lot. Practices will be intense. I’m looking forward to it.”

--Chase Budinger knows what Garnett means to Minnesota. “It’s special for the fans here,” he said. “It’s special for the city. He’s done such a great job over his career and I think it’s just pretty cool for him to come back and finish up his career here.”

Wolves' Rubio on return tonight: 'If it feels good, I'll be back'

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: February 2, 2015 - 12:28 PM

Ricky Rubio participated in this morning's shootaround in Dallas and said he'll play tonight IF his ankle feels right after pre-game warmups.

"I mean, if it feels good, I'm going to be back," he said. "It depends how it goes. If I don't feel ready in the warmups, I won't be playing. I don't know, we'll see."

Rubio has not played since severely spraining his left ankle on Nov. 7 in Orlando. He has missed the last 42 games.

Veteran Mo Williams said he expects to play after missing the last two games because of a hip pointer.

That would give the Wolves three options at point guard tonight against a Mavericks team missing starting point guard Rajon Rondo.

Newly signed Lorenzo Brown had to play all but five seconds in Saturday's home loss to Cleveland because he was the only healthy point guard the Wolves had.

Rookie Zach LaVine won't play tonight, btw. He missed Saturday's game because of an ankle he sprained Friday in Philadelphia.

Flip Saunders said Saturday that Rubio would likely play "a few minutes" in his return.

Apparently, Rubio only returns against the Mavericks. They were the team he faced in December 2012 in his return after nine months gone following knee surgery. He was supposed to be play very limited minutes that night, too, and ended up delivering an 18-minute, 9-assist performance achieved mostly through the rush of adrenaline.

Asked if he was tempted to play Saturday when Kevin Love returned to Target Center on an emotional sold-out night, he said, "As soon as I step up in the warmups, the arena was already full. It was a great atmosphere but I wasn't feeling ready. So let's see tonight."

Rubio and some of his teammates, including Gorgui Dieng and Robbie Hummel, watched Sunday's Super Bowl at former teammate J.J. Barea's place in Dallas.

"We had a bet between him and me," Rubio said. "He bet for the Patriots, I bet for the Seahawks and it didn't go well. It was a straight bet and I almost got it. I don't know they didn't go for Marshawn Lynch, but it was a fun game to watch."

The Mavericks said today that Rondo will miss at least three games because of nasal and orbital bone fractures sustained when Orlando's Richard Jefferson inadvertently kneed him in the face in Saturday's game.

Devin Harris will start in his place.

LaVine Chosen for All-Star Slam-Dunk Contest

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: January 27, 2015 - 6:19 PM

Yes, the NBA couldn't deny Zach LaVine and the Timberwolves rookie couldn't refuse the league when it came offering a place in All-Star Weekend's Saturday night slam-dunk contest.

He will compete against Orlando's Victor Oladipo, Brooklyn's Mason Plumlee and Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Plumlee's home court..

He is the sixth Wolves player chosen to compete in the contest. The others: Derrick Williams in 2012, Gerald Green in 2008, Chris Carr in 1997, Isaiah Rider in 1994 (when he won) and 1995 and Doug West in 1992.

LaVine has 17 dunks this season and recorded a 46-inch vertical leap at one of the draft workouts last summer.

"I'll have something," LaVine said recently when asked about a slam-dunk invitation.

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