Practice Report: Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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The Timberwolves announced at Saturday’s practice that Kevin Love will not be in the lineup Sunday against the New York Knicks. Love will not make the flight to New York after suffering an eye injury late in Thursday’s game against Oklahoma City.

He sat out from Saturday’s practice and watched from the sideline.

“You can’t do anything about it,” coach Rick Adelman said after practice. “It’s just an unfortunate thing that happened towards the end of the game. All I know is that he can’t play, and that he’s got to be careful the next few days. He can’t do anything that causes pressure in his eye.”

Adelman didn’t confirm if Dante Cunningham or Derrick Williams will get the start at power forward against the Knicks.

“Guys just have to step up,” Adelman said. “We have to figure out who we’re going to play, and hopefully it’s just one game. So we’ll go from there.”

Roy’s Return

Shooting guard Brandon Roy returned to practice today for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery last month, and he insisted that he is feeling rejuvenated.

“Everything went fine today,” Roy said. “I think if you were watching, you would maybe think I was never injured. For me, it was a great day. I felt good and shot the ball well. My conditioning is still pretty good, and I just have to keep working. I think I’ll be out there pretty soon.”

Roy wouldn’t mention a timetable for his return, but he did say that it should be soon, and he and Adelman will be in close communication about when he will be able to play again.

“I know it’ll be soon,” Roy said of his eventual return to the Wolves’ active lineup. “Because I felt really good today. I didn’t feel any pain in the knee; it’s just something where me and coach will talk about it. I know we have two days off after this next game. I know I’m getting closer, but I don’t want to say.”

Ricky’s Progress

Although his production has dipped slightly since his impressive debut against Dallas, Ricky Rubio’s minutes are expected to increase as he progresses through the final stages of his rehabilitation process.

“I think Gregg (Farnam, team trainer) will add a couple minutes here as we go forward,” Kahn said. “It’s all up to Gregg and Ricky.”

Kahn noted that there is a level of patience that is needed with a recovery of this nature.

“In that the first night, the adrenaline was there,” Kahn said. “He played, frankly, spectacular. The last two games he hasn’t played as well as in the first game, and that’s to be expected. We knew that it would be something that would take a while, so it’s taking a while. But we expected that, and we’re sure that it will work out in the end.”

Filling the 15th roster spot

President of Basketball Operations David Kahn spoke briefly about the Timberwolves’ search for a 15th player after Saturday’s practice. A spot opened up when Josh Howard was released following his ACL injury, and an unnamed free agent was in Minneapolis this morning to work out at Target Center.

“We worked somebody out today,” Kahn said, “and we’ll likely work someone out on the 26th. One of the funny things that it’s almost like there’s a ‘help wanted’ sign posted. We’ve been inundated with calls. A couple of names probably that we haven’t thought of that came through the cracks. I don’t expect anything to happen until late next week at the earliest.”

Kahn would not offer specifics on any individual players the team might target, but he did mention that he is looking for a type of player that is similar to Howard or Malcolm Lee.

“I think when you think of the team right now,” Kahn said. “We’ve lost Malcolm—in all likelihood for the season—and we’ve lost Josh, who isn’t here right now. So when you think of that profile, somebody who is 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6, 6-foot-7, long-armed in Josh’s case, defensive-minded in Malcolm’s case, capable of helping us a little bit offensively in both guys’ case... we’re missing two people, not one. So I think that’s the profile of who we’re looking for. We’ll obviously move reasonably quickly, but we want to be thorough.”

Quick Hits

  • Will Conroy is back in town, doing scouting work for David Kahn and the Minnesota front office. His first assignment is some D-League scouting, and he will work on several other projects before returning to Washington in April to finish his undergraduate degree.
  • Roy on the Oklahoma City win: “I thought we did a good job. I thought AK (Andrei Kirilenko) did a good job on (Kevin) Durant; he had his points, but you could tell down the stretch that he was tired. It was a great win; OKC won 12 games in a row. If we get healthy, we think we can play with any team in this league. We just have to get healthy and go out there and prove it.”
  • Kahn on Malcolm Lee’s decision to have surgery or not: “They haven’t made a decision yet, and we’re in the midst of that. It’s a pretty personal matter for Malcolm and his family. I think in all likelihood, yes, but he’ll have the final say on that.”

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