Anyone who saw the game or watched the video might be surprised that Wolves power forward Thaddeus Young was at Monday’s intense practice, going full-out.
“Actually they tried to hold me back a little bit,” Young said. “But I just went and kind of told them I’m fine. I’m ready to practice, ready to get back into the full swing of things.”
In the first half of Saturday’s game against Chicago at Target Center, in the corner of the court by the Wolves bench, Young and Chicago’s Jimmy Butler were going for a loose ball when Young took a direct hit from Butler’s elbow and crashed to the court. He was down for a while before being helped into the locker room. He did not return to the game.
The good news is Young passed a concussion test Sunday. And, despite some lingering back soreness likely associated with the hit, was a full-go Monday.
“I went through practice, I was fine,” he said. “Everything’s good. I’m good to go. … I don’t even want to talk about that play. I want to get that behind me and focus on this long road trip we have coming up.”
Coach Flip Saunders clearly felt good enough about Young’s condition to make a joke.
“I told him he’s never going to be an MMA fighter,” Saunders said. “He went down like a redwood out in California. He went down hard. But his regret was he wishes he was on the floor at the end of the game to try to help us win.”
One silver lining is the way Anthony Bennett played with Young out. After missing some defensive assignments in the first half, Bennett played better in the next half on both ends of the court, scoring eight second-half points.
Still, it’s good to have the veteran Young back for the upcoming road trip.
“I talked to [Andrew Wiggins], AB and a few other guys and told them, ‘Way to step up, way to play hard,’ ” Young said. “As a team they went out and played as hard as they could. We didn’t come out on top, but we were two free throws away.”
That’ll cost you
Showing his sense of humor, here was the first thing Wolves guard Kevin Martin said to reporters Monday: “I bet $15,000 I know what the first question you’re going to ask is.”
He was, of course, right. Martin was fined $15,000 by the league for what it termed an obscene gesture near the end of Saturday’s game. It happened with 1:37 left in the game, right after Martin’s three-pointer had given the Wolves a two-point lead.
Without going into too much detail, it was a scaled-down version of the gesture former Wolves guard Sam Cassell made in Game 7 of the 2004 Western Conference semifinals against Sacramento.
The league has frowned upon similar gestures in recent seasons, fining Marco Belinelli, Andray Blatche, Caron Butler and Jameer Nelson for much the same thing the past two seasons.
So was Martin paying homage to Cassell? “I think he started it,” Martin said. “Unfortunately, you can’t do that anymore.”
Saunders takes a rather dim view of the gesture as well, but he has his reasons. According to Saunders, Cassell injured his hip doing that gesture that night, and was injured and ineffective in the conference finals, which the Wolves lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
“We lost a championship by that,” Saunders said. “When [Cassell] did that he had an avulsion fracture in his hip. … So, from that perspective, I’ve always been against that type of thing.”
Still same bottom line
Not that it changes things, but Saunders reiterated that, upon further review, Butler did travel at the end of Saturday’s game when he slipped to the ground, got up, pump-faked and induced Wiggins to foul him. Butler made both free throws with 0.2 seconds left to give the Bulls a one-point victory.