Practice Report: Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Web Editorial Assistant
Swingman Chase Budinger attended practice on Friday a month into recovering from surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. Full recovery is still a few months out, but Budinger says setting small goals makes the time tolerable.
"It's really tough, mostly mentally," Budinger said. "Just knowing I still have a long while until I get back on the court, it's tough mentally, but I think I'm getting thorough it. It's always nice just being around the guys and being around practice and just watching and still being able to communicate with everybody."
He is now off his crutches—a major goal—but the recovery timetable is still set for three to four months. His rehabilitation process has gone on without any setbacks. Budinger has been testing his knee by pushing it harder each day, and while he's unable to run, weights, light squats and water exercise have helped him lose the crutches.
"It's tough to really say when I'll be ready," Budinger said. "It's pretty much up to my knee."
Emerging for the Wolves as valuable 3-point shooter, he was averaging 11.8 points per game before injuring his knee against Chicago on Nov. 10.
Coach Rick Adelman said Budinger's perimeter ability has been missed thus far in the season, especially on a Wolves team that has trouble making those critical shots that can close a fourth quarter.
"In this league, teams are going to take things away from you, and you have to be able to knock down those shots or get a couple of penetrators where they can get to the basket and finish," Adelman said. "But it's been a problem all year long for us, and we certainly miss [Budinger] because he can do that consistently."
Budinger said that execution of offense and not creating turnovers is what will allow the Wolves to close. He said he had been fitting in very well with the team, and he is eager to return to the court to help out in some of those trouble areas, especially during the final stretch of the regular season.
"But on the positive note, it's not like I'm missing the whole season," Budinger said. "I'll definitely be able to get back and get about 20 games in, 20 plus games in, and hopefully help the team push toward the playoffs."
- Adelman on Love's shooting frustration: "It's just something he's going to work through and play through," Adelman said. "You know, he's really important in the way we play. He's making shots that open things up for everybody, especially Pek inside, so it's just something he's got to work through."
- Adelman says Ricky is able to play for 24 minutes, but it all depends on how he's playing. "Ricky is a competitor and he's driven," Adelman said. "Sometimes it's not always going to be perfect for him, but he's just got to learn to get through it and keep fighting through."
- Budinger says Ricky has told him to focus on things outside of basketball to aid the recovery process. Ricky says each week, your knee will start feeling better, but it's important to be mentally tough during long recovery periods.
- Adelman on closing games: "I think every game we've played, we've been in, and we've had a chance. But we have to learn how to finish games some time."