On Thursday, for the first time since injuring his right hand, point guard Kris Dunn was able to do some shooting without any protective bandaging.
It is another step for Dunn, who originally hurt the hand in the Wolves' victory over Orlando Jan. 30. He played briefly in the following game, vs. Cleveland, but has not played since.
Dunn has been shooting for a while, but Thursday was another step. "I'm making a lot of progress,'' he said. "There is a lot of rehab going on. I'm getting close.''
But how close? Dunn said Thursday he hopes to be back before the All-Star Game break . The Wolves have four more games before the break, starting with Friday's game against New Orleans.
Meanwhile, Tyus Jones continues to make the most of his time on the court. He hit a key, tie-breaking three-pointer late in Wednesday's victory over Toronto. He was on the court for the entire fourth quarter, scoring those three points with an assist and a steal. But it remains to be seen whether Jones will continue to have a role when Dunn returns.
"We'll see," Thibodeau said. "The only thing is to handle what you're doing. Everything is based on performance. So that group was doing well last night, so they played more. That's how you make your decisions. He prepares himself well. That's why you feel good about putting him in. He's a great practice player. When he's been put in those situations he's played well.''
Here are some other items from practice:
--Lance Stephenson admitted to a little soreness after playing 20 minutes in his Timberwolves debut. "I'm going to fight through it,'' he said. "We have a big game tomorrow. I will come back later today to watch a little film, and get some shots up, and be ready for tomorrow.
Interestingly, tomorrow's game will be against the New Orleans team that had Stephenson on the roster for six games earlier this season. Hours after signing his 10-day contract, Stephenson played 20 minutes and scored six points with four rebounds.
--Thibodeau said Adreian Payne, who is out indefinitely while being treated for thrombocytopenia may be ready to return to practice in "a couple weeks.''
"Then he'll have to go through conditioning again,'' Thibodeau said. "We're obviously pleased he's doing better.''