The Wolves deactivated starting guard Rashad McCants for Friday's game because of a sore right knee, and they also lost starting point guard Marko Jaric to a foot injury late in the first quarter.

Jaric has a sprained right foot and right ankle.

The injury news was tempered by the fact that injured center Theo Ratliff began lightly shooting again on his sore right knee that until the other day defied diagnosis.

The Wolves started Sebastian Telfair alongside Jaric in the same two point-guard lineup they employed successfully in Monday's victory at New Orleans, the team's first road win. Mark Madsen started at center for Ratliff for the fifth consecutive game.

Ratliff, who missed his seventh consecutive game on Friday, received a third opinion on his right knee when the team was in Dallas on Wednesday. The doctor who previously had worked with Houston star Tracy McGrady recommended a treatment and exercise program to tighten Ratliff's knee ligaments and hamstring muscle in an attempt to stop the popping he feels in his knee when he walks and runs.

Ratliff said he is hopeful he will be able to return to action without needing exploratory arthroscopic surgery to determine the injury and fix the knee.

"Definitely a relief," he said. "There's no timetable. I'm going to take it day by day and continue to progress with the right attitude and the right prayers and make this thing possible. I'm able to shoot a bit and jump a bit, so that's encouraging."

Stay or go?

Wolves coach Randy Wittman said the team will consider in the next week whether to send rookie forward Chris Richard, who had not played in seven of the team's first 13 games, to the NBA Development League.

Richard, of course, would prefer his address remain Minneapolis rather than Sioux Falls, S.D.

"I'd rather do what I'm doing here," Richard said. "I just like being around the guys. I like the situation I'm in. I feel like you develop your game in practice and time away from the court anyway and then you bring it for the games.

''I'm assuming that the competition is a lot better up here than it would be down there. Hopefully, if I stay in shape, something happens and I'm already here instead of bringing me back up."

Loaded

The Spurs have so many good players, they can't keep them all. They traded point guard Beno Udrih to the Wolves just before the season began in a deal that for them was an NBA salary-cap bookkeeping maneuver and the Wolves accepted cash from the Spurs and immediately waived Udrih.

He then signed with Sacramento and has scored in double figures in seven of eight games off the bench.

"He is playing pretty good, but at that time we had 52 people," Wolves coach Randy Wittman said of the Wolves' crowded training-camp roster. "That'd be a good trivia question down the road."