Practice Report: Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012




Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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No one knew what to think at Timberwolves practice yesterday when forward Kevin Love didn’t show up for a morning workout. But when the team received word the All-Star power forward suffered a broken right hand and could miss 6-8 weeks, Minnesota’s early season rotation dramatically changed.

“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with Kevin,” coach Rick Adelman reflected. “I was just shocked—I couldn’t believe it. Here we’re trying to get ready, and then we have something like this happen.”

Hand specialist Dr. Andy Weiland of the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York examined Love’s hand on Thursday and revealed that surgery would not be required. Love is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, which includes the final two weeks of the preseason. The Wolves open up the regular season Nov. 2 against Sacramento.

“Things happen,” Adelman added. “You’re just going to have to respond to it. You’re going to have situations happen, and guys have to respond. We have two weeks until the first game, and [we have to] work out what we’re going to do.”

Adelman agreed that the team focus is even more centered on team chemistry—making these last three preseason games absolutely crucial.

“All we think about right now is that these last three games are going to have a real different approach,” Adelman said, “because we have to play different combinations. Fortunately, we have that whole week after that last game before we open the season. We have time to get together and we have time to grow.”

Guard/forward Chase Budinger agreed. Budinger will play a key role in the rotation, as he can play either spot on the wing, allowing a small forward like Andrei Kirilenko or Derrick Williams to move to power forward.

“We do have a lot of new faces,” Budinger said. “Now with Kevin out, it’s about filling that role. Who’s going to take over? The next preseason game is very important for us to look at different rotations and guys in different positions to see how it works out.”

Despite losing an All-Star forward for the first chunk of the season, Minnesota’s players maintained a positive outlook.

“It’s a big opportunity for myself, DC [Dante Cunningham], and a couple other guys on the team that can play multiple positions,” Williams said. “He’s a two-time All-Star, and it really does suck that our best player we have to do without him. But we can’t make any excuses.”

Williams was subsequently asked if he thought he could emerge as Love’s replacement. He’s had big games, like his 25 points against the Pacers in the team’s exhibition on Oct. 12, but in the past two preseason games he’s scored a combined three points.

“Coach is just looking for players who can attack, be aggressive,” Williams replied. “When I’m out there, he wants me to be aggressive. I think sometimes I catch myself being more passive, and I need to be more aggressive like I was against the Pacers.”


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