Practice Report | April 7, 2014
Déjà vu 2013?
That’s what the feeling was at the Minnesota Timberwolves practice at the LifeTime Practice Facility on Monday afternoon. After back-to-back games on Friday (win in 2OT at Miami) and on Saturday (loss at Orlando), the team’s injury report looks like it should be a team’s starting lineup at this point in the season.
So, who is hurt and who is healthy? Good question…
“I don’t know who the healthy people are,” said Wolves head coach Rick Adelman after practice. I think, all I know is I think ‘Bazz and Chase are probably finished for the year. And “the other guys, just really banged up, so we’ll see who we have tomorrow and we’ll have to move on.”
Adelman is referring to Chase Budinger (sprained right ankle) and Shabazz Muhammad (sprained right MCL). For both players, that’s obviously a major blow to their seasons. Budinger was just getting into the swing of things after recovering from his second knee surgery in one year. On Friday night, Budinger put up a season-high 24 points, going 5-of-7 from the 3-point line. For Muhammad, the rookie was beginning to get consistent minutes, playing 12 minutes or more in two straight games going into the matchup with Miami.
The team also announced that Kevin Martin (heel) and Nikola Pekovic (ankle) will miss tomorrow’s home game against the San Antonio Spurs. Adelman said that Kevin Love will be a game-time decision, but Love said he’ll be on the court and hopes the team can finish the season strong.
“Yeah, I’ll be ready to go,” Love said. “You know, six games in nine days, this last week is going to be going to be tough. We’re going to fight through it and we have eight or nine guys which is tough. You know, fighting that battle of attrition, so we just got to make it fun. Got to make it fun these last six.”
With so few healthy players, there’s a chance the Wolves could bring in a player on a 10-day contract. Adelman joked at the end of practice that he would take Kevin Durant if he were available.
Classic Rick. Coach by day. Comedian by… Well, day I guess, since practice was during the day. We’ll move on.
Playing For Pride
Sure, it’s cliché, but that’s what the Wolves are playing for right now and that was on display during Friday’s double-overtime win over the Heat. With a depleted roster and no chance at the playoffs, it would be easy for the Wolves to fold in, but that wasn’t that tone at all on Monday.
“My mind frame on Friday night against Miami, I didn’t feel great at all, but I said ‘I get a chance to play the defending champs and it’s going to be fun,’” Love said. “We all get paid to put a ball through a hoop and you know we know that we’re not in the playoff hunt but yeah, we get to play a few playoff teams here and hopefully we can take them down.”
We’ve seen rookie Gorgui Dieng take advantage of the opportunity that he’s gotten with Pekovic’s injury. A few players to watch will be Alexey Shved, Robbie Hummel and Luc Mbah a Moute. These are three players that haven’t seen a ton of minutes, but will likely have to play out of necessity.
Speaking of that Miami win on Friday, Adelman noted that that might have been the best his team has played since he’s been in Minnesota: “I thought the Miami game was probably the best one we had since I’ve been here.”
Adelman said that he would talk with President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders after practice about the possibility of signing a player to a 10-day contract for the final six games of the season.
The University of Kentucky plays the University of Connecticut tonight for the NCAA National Championship. Love said that he hope UCONN wins “because of Kevin Ollie.” Kevins unite! The two were teammates on the Wolves during the 2008-09 season.
The Wolves will host the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow at 7 p.m. The game will air Fox Sports North Plus and WCCO 830-AM.