And so it continues.
Wolves fans who make it to Target Center Saturday for the game with Houston – the game will not be televised – will see further change on the Wolves roster.
Center Nikola Pekovic will likely miss seven to ten days with a right quad contusion sustained Thursday. Guard Alexey Shved, who turned his left ankle Thursday, is listed as day to day, but will almost certainly miss Saturday’s game.
But, according to Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn, there could be two – not one, two – new faces in Wolves uniform by the 7 p.m. tip.
The Wolves have asked for, and have been granted, a hardship exception by the league because of their injury woes.
Lazar Hayward’s 10-day deal with the team has expired, and he will not be re-signed. That means the Wolves have two openings that can be filled – and they might be filled by Saturday.
“I’m hopeful – but nothing has been finalized yet – that we can have a couple things consummated in time for the game (Saturday) night,” Kahn said. “If all goes well, we’ll have a fuller bench.”
One of those two new faces figures to belong to Michael Gelabale, the 6-7 swingman who was playing in Spain. Gelabale is in town, and was expected to be signed by Friday. But Kahn said the team is still waiting for clearance from FIBA – the international basketball federation – to sign him. That could happen by Saturday’s pre-game shootaround.
The other addition? Kahn wasn’t naming names, but it’s clear with Kevin Love and Pekovic out, the team needs a big man. Gelabale will fulfill a need for a perimeter player who can defend both at shooting guard and at small forward. “With Pek’s situation now, we probably are a little too thin there as well,” Kahn said. “I mean, thinner than even thin. So I think that probably will be how we deal with the hardship exception.”
The exception – which is granted to teams with at least four players out for a minimum of two weeks – can only be filled with a 10-day contract. The other spot – the one that Hayward filled for a time – can be filled in any way the team sees fit. But Kahn said Friday that both spots would be filled, for now, with 10-day deals. That would mean Gelabale would be coming, essentially, on a short-term tryout.
Meanwhile, Kahn said he talked to the players Friday morning about not letting the team’s injury situation affect how hard they played. Kahn noted that the Wolves were only one game behind the seventh- and eighth-placed teams in the Western Conference in the loss column entering Friday’s games.
“There is always – and it’s understandable – a the-sky-is-falling mentality when you lose five games in a row,” Kahn said. “We need to win a game. And if we don’t win tomorrow night we need to win the next one. But there are 46 games to play, and I think it’s important for everybody realize that.”
In other news:
--Kahn said he was in New York with Kevin Love for his surgery. The plan is for Love to stay in New York for the initial phase of rehabilitation work -- up to maybe 10 days – and then return to the Twin Cities to continue that work.
--Kahn said he accompanied Brandon Roy to a doctor visit this week. Kahn continues to believe there is a chance Roy, battling chronic right knee pain, could return to action. Roy continues to work on a new treatment plan that Kahn said has produced some positive results. But don’t look for a possible return to come in the next few weeks.
--Kahn said coach Rick Adelman – who has misses six games tending to his ill wife – will not return in the near term. “I think what Rick would like to do is make certain that his family situation is stabilized so that, if he does return, he feels it will be (permanent),” Kahn said.
That’s about it for now. I’ll be at tomorrow’s game, with Jerry going to Atlanta for Monday’s matinee.