Practice Report | Jan. 3, 2014

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Practice Report | Jan. 3, 2014

Robbie Hummel has the voice of an angel.

Well, that might not be entirely true, but we did get to hear Hummel, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng sing “Happy Birthday” to big man Nikola Pekovic. Pekovic celebrated his 28th birthday on Friday and as practice ended, the rookies sang to him. The first round was a bit ugly… The second try really had nowhere to go but up.

“The first time was bad, the second time they put some effort so I liked it… I want to say thanks to J.J. (Barea) because he made guys put some effort into it,” Pekovic said.

Pekovic was all smiles at practice and for good reason. He’s had at least 18 points and seven rebounds in each of his last five games. He hasn’t showed any signs of aging. Pekovic said that he’s feeling better than ever, but that “28” number has him feeling a big odd.

“28. I don’t know,” Pekovic said after being asked if he felt old. “I guess.”

He’s been solid throughout the last month after getting off to a bit of a rocky start. Pekovic attributed that to getting used to playing with some of his teammates. He also noted that with his contract situation in the summer, he wasn’t able to get into the shape he would have liked to. Now, though, he feels fine.

“I couldn’t do some more stuff because you know what it’s like, you don’t want to do any contact stuff or anything,” Pekovic said. “But for me it’s important and now I feel really good and that’s important.”

Now that he’s 28 and with a new contract, he doesn’t feel added pressure and will keep doing things the way he’s been doing them.

“I’m not going to do anything new, besides some jump shots,” Pekovic said with a smile.

Injury Update

For the second straight day, forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute sat out of practice with a groin injury that he suffered in Wednesday’s win over the Pelicans. Mbah a Moute tried to re-enter and finish the game but it bothered him enough to the point where he could not really run. He sat the rest of the game out.

When asked on his availability for tomorrow’s game against Oklahoma City, Adelman responded, “I have no idea.”

There’s no doubt the Wolves could use the defensive-minded forward against Kevin Durant, who is leading the league with 28.6 points per game.

“Oh yeah, you could use a lot of people against Durant,” Adelman joked.

If Mbah a Moute is unable to go, expect Corey Brewer to see the majority of work against Durant.

Despite looking good during Friday’s practice, it’s unlikely that either Chase Budinger (knee) or Ronny Turiaf (elbow) will be available for Saturday’s game. Both players took part in today’s scrimmage and Turiaf played in its entirety without needing a break, according to Adelman.

The return for these two seems like it is coming real soon, though.

When they do return, Adelman envisions that they will have a minute-limit restriction on them and see where they go from there.

“A lot of it is up to their doctors, what they say,” Adelman said. “… Both of their conditioning is good.”

In less-serious injury news, both Ricky Rubio and Pekovic were limited a bit in practice. Rubio was kicked in the calf during Wednesday’s game, while Pekovic tweaked his ankle a bit. Adelman said that both players could have practiced, but the team decided to hold them back for precautionary reasons.

Quick Hits

  • With the return of Budinger coming soon, Adelman was asked if there’s a chance that Shabazz Muhammad could possibly see some time in the D-League to get himself some minutes. Adelman noted that a decision on that hasn’t been made yet, but there have been discussions. The coach and Flip Saunders, who was working with Muhammad a bit after practice, were set to meet Friday afternoon to discuss a variety of things.

    Adelman sent Aaron Brooks to the D-League as a coach for Houston and said it paid off. He’s hoping that if the Wolves do decide to send Muhammad to the D-League, it will have the same effect.

    “It’s hard when you don’t get to play as a young guy, and he’s always played,” Adelman said.

  • After practice, Budinger, Hummel and Alexey Shved worked together in 3-point shooting drills. While alternating shots, the three went 13-of-15 during a certain stretch. Not too shabby.
  • The Wolves host the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow night at 7 p.m. The game will be aired on Fox Sports North Plus and WCCO 830-AM. The Wolves are 1-1 against the Thunder this season, having won at the Target Center back in November. Oklahoma City will be without All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook.

  • For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.

    Related Content