Injured Timberwolves center Ronny Turiaf bumped and banged with teammates Monday morning for the first time in nearly two months … and couldn’t have been happier.
Turiaf participated in a spirited 3-on-3 game with Chase Budinger, Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad, A.J. Price and Robbie Hummel after the team’s shoot-around. It was his first contact action since he fractured a bone — slow healing, it turns out — that connects into his elbow during the season’s second game, Nov. 1 against Oklahoma City.
“This is a long time coming,” Turiaf said. “I don’t think I’ve been excited to do 3-on-3 for a while. To tell you the truth, I’m very excited. This is very fun for me now.”
Turiaf said he doesn’t know when he will play a game again. A 5-on-5 full practice is the next step toward that end.
“The fact that he’s going out playing, that’s a good thing,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “But there’s no timetable, as far as I know.”
Both Turiaf and his doctor once expected he’d be playing by now. He was asked Monday if he’s frustrated.
“I’m going to answer it this way: I beat out heart surgery, so a little broken radial head is nothing too frustrating,” said Turiaf, who had open-heart, aortic-valve surgery in 2005.
Love calls out bench
The Wolves’ starting five in Monday’s home loss to Dallas scored 93 of the team’s 98 points. Backup point guard J.J. Barea was the only bench player who scored a point, and he added the Wolves’ other five points.
“Our bench had five points tonight,” Wolves star Kevin Love said, referring to the Mavericks’ lopsided 26-5 advantage there. “We need to get our bench going. I don’t know what we can do to light a fire under them, but five points is just not OK. Our starters didn’t play particularly well on the defensive end, but we held up our bargain in the second half.
“We just need to have that little extra push when guys need a rest. We need to find that somehow.”
Where was Ricky?
Love, Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer combined to score 89 of the Wolves’ 98 points. Point guard Ricky Rubio scored the starting five’s other four points and afterward Adelman second-guessed himself to not getting Rubio back in the game in the fourth quarter until 3:43 remained.
By then, a 90-87 lead with 6:36 left had turned into a 95-90 deficit while Barea played more than eight fourth-quarter minutes.
“Maybe about a minute,” Adelman said when asked if he kept Barea in the game too long. “I was going to put [Rubio] in and I thought there would be another timeout. I didn’t want to use another timeout. I probably should have gone a little earlier with him.”
• Dallas point guard Jose Calderon didn’t play because of an ankle injury the last time these teams played, in Dallas in late November. But the guy who’s shooting 48 percent from three-point distance — second best in the NBA this season — started Monday’s game. “He makes a big difference,” Adelman said.
• Ricky Rubio’s first-quarter assist on a Love three-pointer was the 1,000th assist of his NBA career.