Practice Report: Monday, Dec. 31, 2012

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Practice Report: Lazar Hayward

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Lazar Hayward, the newest member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, joined the team for practice on Monday and was welcomed back by teammates, coaches and media. Hayward began his NBA career by being acquired by Minnesota in a draft night trade, and he appeared in 42 games for the Wolves during the 2010-2011 season.

“Since I’ve came here my rookie year, I’ve watched Minnesota,” Hayward said. “I’ve always been a fan of this organization. Guys are banged up, there’s really nothing you can do about it. It’s very familiar being here, and it was a very easy transition for me.”

Coach Rick Adelman said that Hayward fits the profile of a long, athletic wing that can help provide what they lost in Malcolm Lee and Josh Howard when the two went down with knee injuries.

“He plays hard,” Adelman said. “He gives us a guy at that position that we don’t have right now behind Andrei [Kirilenko] or behind Alexey [Shved]. So it’s good, if we have to face a team with a big two-guard or if Andrei gets in foul trouble, you can play him at either spot.”

The 6-foot-6 wing was traded from Minnesota to Oklahoma City on Dec. 13, 2011, spending a year there before being traded to Houston in October 2012. Hayward was released before the season started, and stayed busy in Los Angeles working out and exploring his spiritual life.

“I’ve just been working out in LA,” Hayward said, “working on my game and trying to keep my conditioning up. I’ve actually touched into another piece of my life with some spiritual stuff. I’ve seen some mediums; I’ve seen two and I’ve actually been able to see a spirit while I’ve been in one of my meetings. I can’t talk to them yet, but I can see them.”
Practice Report: Rick Adelman

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Ricky’s Back Spasms: “Just keep moving forward”

Ricky Rubio was a surprise scratch for Saturday night’s game against Phoenix. He came out and warmed up during pregame shootaround, but stiffness in his back prevented him from playing the Suns.

“I tried,” Rubio said. “But in the warm-ups I couldn’t even play the pick-and-roll. I couldn’t play.”

Rubio, who made his season debut on Dec. 15, is still getting accustomed to NBA pace after recovering from major knee surgery.

“[When] you’ve been out for a long time, you have to take it easy,” Rubio said. “But we’re lucky that we have three days between the games. I can work with that.”

Coach Adelman said that he almost expected a minor injury to pop up during Rubio’s first couple weeks back on the court. He and the rest of the Wolves staff will evaluate Rubio’s condition day-to-day.
Practice Report: Ricky Rubio

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“He’s going through basically a training camp,” Adelman said. “He’s going to go through ups and downs with soreness. It just happens to be his back. He says he’s feeling better, but he’s still a little stiff. So we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

Quick Hits

  • Alexey Shved on his shooting: “Sometimes I feel good in game and make shots, the next game I can miss five in a row. I don’t know what I can tell you.”

  • Lazar Hayward said he worked out with the Cleveland Cavaliers before signing with Minnesota.

  • Coach Adelman on moving his roster around to various positions: “Some guys have to play positions they’re not used to, and they have to figure it out. We moved DC [Dante Cunningham] all over the place. You can still get things done by playing him and Derrick [Williams] at different spots, and they learn that in case of emergency, you can play them there and they’re ready for it.”



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