PHOENIX – Gone from the Timberwolves’ past 27 games now because of a broken wrist, veteran guard Kevin Martin declared himself something of a new man after Thursday’s practice.
Or maybe rather, it was something of his old self.
“I was back to K-Mart today,” he said.
Martin said he is feeling fine after 10 days or more of shooting work and Thursday’s live contact with his teammates from which he emerged pain-free.
“I think I’m getting close, I think I impressed them today,” he said. “Today was a big step.”
Asked if “close” meant as soon as Friday’s game in Phoenix, Martin said, “I don’t think it’s likely, but you never know when you wake up.”
Wolves coach Flip Saunders said the decision is all Martin’s to make. He said he is waiting for the day Martin tells him he’s ready.
“I don’t know if he’s ready yet, that’s going to be his call,” Saunders said. “One of these days he’s going to get up in the morning and say he’s ready.”
If not Friday, Martin said that day could come Saturday at Denver or Monday at Charlotte. Those are the final games on a four-game road trip, which started with Tuesday’s 110-101 victory at Indiana.
“I don’t know about this weekend,” Martin said. “Yeah, there’s a chance. We’ll see how it feels later.”
Waiting for Ricky
Martin, center Nikola Pekovic and guard Ricky Rubio all have been sidelined since November. Martin looks like the first one who will be ready to play again, and Rubio looks like the last.
Saunders said Rubio still has some soreness on the inside of his ankle, and when asked about the prospect of Rubio playing on this trip, Saunders said “definitely not.”
“Almost like a little bone bruise,” Saunders said, “so we’re going to be very cautious with that.”
D League, or not?
Pekovic’s remaining issue appears to be conditioning, not any resurfacing pain in that problematic ankle.
Saunders said Pekovic is willing to go to the NBA Development League and the Wolves are willing to send the center there to play in a game or two to work his way back into playing shape.
However, the timing might not work out with the D League currently holding its annual Showcase that runs through Monday in Santa Cruz, Calif.
• Former Sacramento coach Mike Malone was at Thursday’s practice and will be with the Wolves through this road trip. Saunders said he invited Malone to let him know he’s not forgotten after the Kings fired him last month.
• Mo Williams’ phone has buzzed since Tuesday’s 52-point game, a club record. “I got a lot of reaction,” he said. “It was a special moment for myself. A lot of people saw it and gave me a lot of attention for it. But I’m a couple days removed from it, so it’s dying down a little bit.”