Practice Report: Monday, Dec. 10, 2012

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Coach Rick Adelman said at Monday’s practice that guard Ricky Rubio’s status for returning to the lineup is still in question. The team hasn’t ruled out the potential to play Wednesday against Denver, but Adelman maintained there is no definite timetable.

The key to Rubio’s return might not be when his knee is ready, but rather when his whole body is prepared for the rigors of an NBA game.

“He seems fine with the injury he had,” Adelman said. “But you don’t want him to get other injuries by going out too soon, like pulling a muscle or doing something like that. Those are all things we are going to have to ask medical people about.”

The Timberwolves’ front office, medical staff and Rubio will all be in close communication when targeting a return date, weighing several factors.

“I’m sure we’re going to discuss it today or tomorrow,” Adelman said. “I think they’re still testing him to see where he’s at, and that’s going to determine where the strength of his legs are. On the court he’s doing fine, but they’re still testing him. I think that’s going to be a big part.”

So far, the progress that Rubio has made in practice has been encouraging. He has been scrimmaging with the team and staying after practice to engage in intense shooting and conditioning drills.

He’s been doing well,” Adelman said. “He’s had his ups and downs in terms of timing and things like that, but he’s been moving well. He pushes himself hard in practice, but I think it’s going to be how his conditioning keeps improving. His legs getting better, and he still has that ability to get in the middle of the court and find people.”

When asked about which of Rubio’s on-court abilities are most valuable, Adelman didn’t hesitate.

“Breaking down the defense for sure,” Adelman said. “He’s going to get to the middle of the defense, he’s going to break it down and find people. Alexey (Shved) does that some, but Ricky has a flair for that and you see it in practice. He finds people at the right spots, and he’s really good at adjusting to what the defense is doing.”

Adelman, an experienced coach that is closing in on 1,000 career wins, has been through situations like this before. When he was coaching in Houston in 2010, a decision was made to limit often-injured center Yao Ming to 24 minutes a game, in hopes of keeping him healthy long-term. Yao ended up developing a stress fracture in his ankle by December, his last injury before his eventual retirement the next summer.

“I need to talk to him and see if there is a minute limitation, what’s the best way to put those minutes out there,” Adelman said of limiting Rubio at first. “I’ve been through that with Yao, and it’s not easy to determine that. It affects the whole team and how you play other people. I know that’s not a great answer, but I really don’t know anything else but that.”

Adelman Revisits Chemekta CC

Adelman noted that he and his wife attended a court dedication on Saturday at Chemeketa Community College for his former colleague, Ward Paldanius. Chemeketa, a school located in Salem, Ore., was Adelman’s first head coach job from 1977 to 1983. Paldanius was athletic director from 1972 to 1987 and directed much of the school’s athletic facility construction.

“(Paldanius) was a very good friend of mine who gave me my first job,” Adelman said. “He has been doing well, and they were doing this court for him, so we flew in for it. He was at the school a long time, and when we started there wasn’t a gym; everything was off-campus. He kind of kept it together and built an athletic program there. It was very nice.”

After posting a 139-41 record at Chemeketa, Adelman was hired by NBA coach Jack Ramsay in Portland—beginning the first of his 21 seasons in professional basketball.

Quick Hits

  • Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo met with coach Adelman after practice to talk about how to operate a condensed training camp after lockout. The Timberwolves held a brief training camp after last year’s lockout before beginning their 2011-2012 season, and the Wild are looking at a similar scenario this year.


  • Adelman on Brandon Roy’s status after knee surgery: “He’s doing his work, and he didn’t practice. He’s just going through shooting and doing things like that. It’s good to see him out on the floor, and they’re going to see how he goes this week. I think maybe next week, as long as he’s doing fine, his activity will improve.”

  • Derrick Williams on if he is frustrated with his current playing time: “I’m a patient player. I just have to do with what I have. If I get ten minutes, I get ten minutes. I get out there and play; I try to play as well as I can and knock down shots, anything I can do to stay in the game.”

  • For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.