Well, it appears center Nikola Pekovic (ankle bursitis) and Kevin Martin (broken thumb) are getting closer to playing. But I don’t think either will play Saturday in Utah.
Wolves coach Rick Adelman said Pekovic, who has missed 10 games, again did drill work at Friday’s practice. Martin, meanwhile, did less than Pekovic. Martin got his left thumb looked at in the morning, and was scheduled to get a second opinion before the team left for Utah Friday afternoon.
Adelman said he was reasonable to expect both could play on the upcoming five-game road trip. But when? That’s the question.
“They’ve been out for a while,” Adelman said. “The biggest thing for Pek is how much soreness will he have and what kind of condition will he be in? Martin has been able to run. He should be OK as soon as the doctor says he can go. But I don’t know when that will be.”
So that means the Wolves, also without backup center Ronny Turiaf, will have to do some mixing and matching at the position in the short term. Rookie Gorgui Dieng will get more minutes. But his rawness on the offensive end and his proclivity for fouling means the Wolves can’t depend on him picking up the slack.
So look for Kevin Love to play some center on the defensive end, along with Dante Cunningham. Adelman said he’s loath to use Love there too much, not wanting to tire him out or put him in foul trouble. “Kevin has a lot of responsibility right now,” Adelman said. “he’s going to have to play the center some. But you’ve got to think about not wearing him down. So we’ll have to play that by ear.’’
Look for Cunningham to get a lot of minutes there. Also, when matchups allow the Wolves to go small, look for Luc Mbah a Moute to get minutes at the power forward position.
In other items:
--Both J.J. Barea and Chase Budinger expressed relief that the trade deadline has passed without any moves.
--Barea, who is 14-for-18 from the field his past two games, said he had been putting too much pressure on himself to score for the second unit. It wasn’t until he quit pushing things, he said, that the shots started to fall.
That’s about it. Jerry will be with the team in Utah tomorrow.