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.
Kevin Martin said at this morning's shootaround that he's headed to Los Angeles Monday to get another opinion on his fractured thumb but remains hopeful he'll play before this five-game trip that begins tonight at Utah ends nine days later in Denver.
He won't play at least the first two games, tonight and at Portland on Sunday,
Nikola Pekovic said he'll test his ankle out before tonight's game and decide if he can play limited minutes.
He said he still has pain from bursitis in his ankle, but said his doctor said that's normal and fine as long as the pain doesn't increase.
It hasn't so far after two days of workouts back in Minneapolis on Thursday and Friday, he said.
If he can't play and with Ronny Turiaf out for likely the next three weeks at least, the Wolves will have to do some improvising at center.
They'll have to play Gorgui Dieng more, but just how much Rick Adelman is willing to rely upon remains to be seen. Or they'll have to use Kevin Love and Dante Cunningham there against a Jazz lineup that can go big with Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, although Adelman wants to limit how much more pounding he asks Love to take since he has been banged up pretty good already.
Alexey Shved said he's dumping the protective mask and will play without it tonight for the first time in a month.
He might want to keep it on just one more game: It was right here in Utah a month ago when Rudy Gobert whacked him in the face and broke his nose.
Greetings from Target Center, where the Wolves will take on Denver shortly.
There are a number of pre-game items to get to:
--First, coach Rick Adelman is back after missing Monday’s game and Tuesday’s practice tending to his wife, Mary Kay. Adelman did not want to get into specifics – at all. But he did acknowledge that the absence was due to her health issue. Adelman missed 11 games last season while his wife was treated for seizures. “I really don’t see any reason to talk about it,” Adelman said. “I wasn’t here. It’s just something, my wife had a little problem and that is it.”
Later, Adelman asked if his wife would be OK. “Its’ OK,” he said. “I just had to take care of it, and I planned on being here today, and it’s worked out that way. So it’s a good time for the All-Star break, even though we’re in Minnesota with the snow and cold.”
--Kevin Martin said he will have his broken left thumb re-examined right before the team heads out for a five-game road trip later this month. That trip begins with a Feb. 22 game at Utah, and Martin’s re-examination will come just prior to that, at which he hopes to be cleared. “Hopefully the doctor tells me It’s OK,” Martin said.
--No real update on center Nikola Pekovic, who is still out with bursitis in his right ankle. He was sporting the boot again in the locker room prior to the game.
That’s about it for now. Have a good rest of your night.
Rick Adelman will not coach tonight's game against his former Rockets team because of what the team is calling "personal reasons" and assistant coach Terry Porter will coach for him instead.
Adelman is expected to be back for Wednesday's game against Denver, a team source said.
Kevin Love is he will play tonight even though his leg is still hurting him after he took a hit from former teammate Greg Stiemsma in Friday's game at New Orleans.
"The rest did me some good," said Love, who didn't play Saturday against Portland. "I can bend the leg a little more, but still not 100 percent but I'm going to go out there and give it a go."
The Wolves have been through this before without Adelman. Porter coached 11 games for him in January 2013 while Adelman was away from the team to be with his wife while doctors sought to diagnose why she was suddenly experiencing seizures.
The Wolves went 2-9 in those games.
The Houston Rockets tonight make their first Target Center visit this season, which means Dwight Howard comes to town for the first time as a Rocket.
It also means, of course, that Kevin McHale is back in the arena and the state he once called home.
But don't expect him to gush all warm and fuzzy about it because once again, he won't.
"It's cold, I know that much," he said when asked about the emotions of his return. "It hasn't warmed up much."
Somebody tried to engage him in a conversation about the 10th anniversary of that 2003-04 Wolves team he assembled that reached the Western Conference finals with Kevin Garnett, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell leading the way.
Don't go there, man.
"I'm not going to 2003," he said. "I forgot 2003. OK? Next question."
When asekd what his memories of Minnesota - and presumably the Wolves are - he said, "Best memories? Fishing, being with my dad hunting in woods. Those are my best memories of Minnesota."
He was better talking about Howard and how the Rockets are getting used to playing with a legitimate low-post scorer for the first time and he was better talking about how the power-forward position has changed since he played and Kevin Love has expanded the part of the "stretch 4" position.
Asked if he could see this kind of career coming for Love (whom he made that draft-night deal in 2008), McHale said, "Nah, if anybody drafts anybody besides LeBron and they tell you they saw all this, they're lying to you. But everybody lies in this business. I thought Kevin would be a double-double guy. He could really rebound, rebounded outside his area, had great hands and a really good 15 to 17 foot jump shot. And I said with that alone he could be a 15-and-10 guy. But like I said, he took it to a whole new level. Good for him. Good kid."
No word yet on whether Love will play tonight. It all depends on how much his battered and bruised body has gotten better with two more days' rest.
Wolves didn't shoot this morning and are having a 4:30 p.m. walk-through instead, so I'll know more when pre-game availablity starts at 5:30 pm.
Don't expect Nikola Pekovic or Kevin Martin to play until after the All-Star break, though.
The Wolves have been hit by the injury bug again. And again.
In no particular order:
--Kevin Love, who has worked his way through so many bumps and bruises the past couple weeks, will not play tonight because of a left quad contusion.
--Neither will shooting guard Kevin Martin. Martin hurt his left (non-shooting) thumb late in Friday’s loss in New Orleans. An X-ray taken Saturday revealed a non-displaced fracture of the distal phalanx the thumb. Non-displaced means the bone broke, but the pieces of the bone are still aligned. And the distal phalanx is the tip of the thumb. The Wolves said Martin will not need surgery, but is out indefinitely, at least until after the All-Star break.
After enjoying relatively good health from their starting unit for much of the season, the injuries are coming in bunches. Center Nikola Pekovic missed his seventh game Saturday with bursitis in his right ankle. He is not expected until after the All-Star break either.
Tonight’s starters: Ricky Rubio, Chase Budinger, Ronny Turiaf, Dante Cunningham and Corey Brewer.
Here are some other pre-game tidbits:
--Both teams are tired. The Wolves didn’t tip off Friday in New Orleans until 8:30, which meant a long flight home after their fourth-quarter collapse. The team didn’t get to town until about 3:30. The Blazers, meanwhile, lost in overtime at Indiana Friday before flying here.
--Top Blazers reserve Mo Williams will not play tonight. He is missing his second straight game tending to an ill member of his family.
That’s about it for now. Have a good night.
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