Webster Continues To Gain Minutes In Wolves' Lineup
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Timberwolves guard Martell Webster freely admits he’s not quite as spry as he once was. In the mornings, he uses the phrase “old man” to coax himself out of bed, and before and after games this season he uses a rigorous assortment of stretches, treatments and medications to keep his twice-operated back able to handle the physical strain of being a professional athlete.
But he’s not complaining one bit. Webster, who is continuing to add to his minutes on the court as his endurance builds and his body adapts, is happy he’s still able to suit up and play the game he loves.
“I’m very fortunate to be playing,” Webster said. “I wake up with a smile on my face every morning, because having this surgery twice, not a lot of guys come back and are able to play. I’m very blessed and I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity to be in this position.”
The 25-year-old missed the first 18 games of the year recovering from microdiscectomy back surgery, using much of the first half of this season to rehab at the Wolves training facilities in preparation for his return. He made his debut Jan. 27 against the Spurs, easing in by playing six minutes.
Heading into tonight’s tilt with Houston, Webster has played 47 total minutes in the past two games against Orlando and Charlotte—the most minutes in back-to-back contests he's had all year.
His presence is being felt. Though the Wolves have used a combination of Ricky Rubio, JJ Barea and Luke Ridnour in their back court this season, Minnesota is benefiting from the size and athleticism the 6-foot-7 Webster brings to the team.
Defensively, Webster brings additional size to the guard position. Offensively he’s always a threat from 3-point range, and he’s showing the ability to drive and get to the rim. Webster has played in 11 of the team’s 30 games this season.
“He gives us energy,” coach Rick Adelman said. “When he plays, he gives us energy, and I think he’s going to get better when he gets in better shape and gets used to being on the floor.”
Part of that is on Webster, who continues to put in the work off the court that allows him to stay on it. Webster said after Wednesday’s win over Charlotte that his postgame routine alone is rigorous—a combination of using a cold tub, icing and compression before he heads home for the night.
Regenerating the range of motion in his back is one of his top priorities, he said.
“I have to come in 2 ½ hours early, get some work done, some prep work,” Webster said. “It will eventually get better, but right now it’s that tedious moment where you’ve just got to keep grinding and coming in early and getting that work done, keeping that body loose.”
It’s that constant work ethic that helped Webster recover from both his back surgeries and, while working with player development coaches David Adelman and Shawn Respert during his rehab workouts, garnered praise for his dedication to getting back on the court.
It’s something Webster isn’t taking for granted.
“The training staff is doing a good job of getting my body prepared for the game, and I have to just go out there and make the most of my opportunity,” he said.
Webster said he’ll continue to do what it takes to keep his body prepared each night, and when he’s called upon he’ll bring his best effort while on the court. He’s appreciative of every opportunity he gets to take the floor.
“You’ve got to keep an optimistic approach to it because like I said, a lot of people have this surgery and don’t come back 100 percent,” Webster said. “You’ve just got to keep living your dream, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
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