Shootaround Access: Wolves at Jazz | Feb. 22, 2014




Timberwolves at Jazz | 8:00 PM — EnergySolutions Arena


Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

Wolves center Nikola Pekovic and shooting guard Kevin Martin were both in workout gear and on the court when shootaround opened up to media Saturday morning at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, but the chances of either player returning from injury tonight in Utah is still very much up for debate as we near the 8 p.m. CT tipoff.

Pekovic is the likeliest of the two, but he is still a gametime decision. He’s missed action since Jan. 27 with bursitis in his right ankle, and although he’s been doing light workouts the past few days he said he is still unsure whether or not tonight will be the night he’ll return.

He said he’ll go through a workout tonight before the game with trainer Gregg Farnam and the Wolves’ staff, and the group will make a decision from there.

“That’s how it’s probably going to be,” Pekovic said. “Try it out and see how it feels. But it’s not only my decision. With Gregg and everything, we just have to discuss about it and see what the best solution for me.”

The good news for Pekovic is he is testing the ankle out at this point, and doctors have told him that if he’s not feeling additional pain, it’s normal for him to still have lingering discomfort from that bursitis. He said he can still feel it, but he isn’t feeling additional pain.

The toughest part for him has been being away from the team in game settings.

“It’s just been frustrating for me. I just really want to be on the court,” Pekovic said. “We’re having a good year and everything has been working fine, you know, so I’m just missing these guys. I’m missing playing.”

If Pekovic isn’t able to go, expect either the Wolves to move Kevin Love to the 5 and insert Dante Cunningham into the 4 spot, or rookie Gorgui Dieng could be inserted in as the starting center while keeping Love at power forward.

Cunningham said the Wolves have been practicing with and without Pekovic over the past couple days, so they’re ready for whatever situation arises.

“We’re prepared either way,” Cunningham said. “Honestly, it would be a help but you know we’ve proven we can still maintain and still get it done without him.”

As for Martin, the chances of him playing tonight or tomorrow sounded much more uncertain after he had a re-evaluation on his broken left thumb Friday in the Twin Cities. He said he’s going to seek a second opinion on Monday morning in Los Angeles, and he still hopes he’s able to make his return on this five-game road trip.

He said he can still tell it’s broke based on the discomfort he feels in the thumb, and he’s just relegated to taking it day by day.

“With a break you just have to be patient,” Martin said. “It’s not like with a muscle, something they can work on or something like that. You just have to be patient and let it heal and see what I can do with the left hand and just go from there.”

Martin said it’s progressing well, but he wants to see if he can get back into the lineup sooner than later.

The Wolves have inserted Chase Budinger into the shooting guard spot in Martin’s absence.

“Just with K-Mart, it’s been very unlucky,” Kevin Love said. “So it’s just one of those things where we have to overcome it. We have to get better. But we have a great opportunity on this road trip to knkock out some games starting with tonight.”

Quick Hits:

  • The last time the Wolves were in Utah, Alexey Shved collided with Rudy Gobert and broke his nose. Since then, he’s been wearing a mask in each game he’s played. Actually, he had two masks—the first one he couldn’t see out his peripherals. Tonight, he said he’s going to play without the mask since breaking his nose on Jan. 21.

    How does he feel about that?

    “I feel so happy,” Shved said.

  • Also the last time the Wolves were in Utah, Ricky Rubio stole the hearts of fans around the country by playing catch during a timeout with a young girl on the court. Will he do it again tonight? Stay tuned…

  • For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.