Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Cavaliers

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Timberwolves small forward Andrei Kirilenko said he will play tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers after the team’s morning shootaround at the LifeTime Fitness Training Center.

“I am playing,” Kirilenko said. “Like I thought, I have it probably every year once or twice. I’m out for seven or 10 days.”

Kirilenko, who had been averaging 13 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game and 3.3 assists per game before missing the last four games with back spasms, noted that this has been a recurring issue throughout his career.

“I can feel it only in the games or during the practice,” Kirilenko said. “I can feel the back getting weak a little bit. Everybody has that kind of tendency; when they get a soreness, they think, ‘Ah, I know this soreness, I know this pain.’”

Maintaining that he feels fine today, Kirilenko attributed much of his recovery to the ‘active treatment’ methods utilized by the Timberwolves medical staff.

“Right now I feel relieved. I’m not feeling any weakness, I’m feeling strong, I feel like I can move. That’s the main thing. Last week I was feeling it was weak, like I couldn’t really bend or start my motion. Right now I feel like it was normal.

“I’m doing pretty much the same stuff. I’m always doing a lot of massages, a lot of bicycle and hot before the practice or treatment. I wouldn’t say it’s rest, more like active treatment. You have to stretch it, massage it, work on it a little bit.”

Teammate Nikola Pekovic said that Kirilenko’s return will help in every area defensively.

“He helps a lot, he is everywhere,” Pekovic said. “He is stealing balls, always trying to deny, he is a rebounder. He will help a lot tonight.”

Trade Rumors

Amidst some Minnesota-related trade rumors leaking out into the media this week, David Kahn spoke publically this morning and denied any allegations that they had been talking to the Los Angeles Lakers franchise. Kirilenko, an 11-year veteran, said that nothing has changed since he first arrived in the NBA.

“It’s still the same NBA,” Kirilenko said. “You hear all the rumors all the time, and you don’t really worry about it. It’s a little bit more open (now, with Twitter), but there’s still a lot of rumors. For the duration of my career, I’ve been ‘traded’ like 20 times—but I played 10 years on the same team. You don’t need to listen to those things.”

Pekovic said that he doesn’t listen to rumors, either.

“No, personally, I didn’t read it anywhere,” Pekovic said. “I didn’t even pay attention, just a few of my friends asked me if there were anything about the rumors. I didn’t think about it.”

Quick Hits

  • Kirilenko on Minnesota’s road trip: “I think we had a great game in Philly, and coming to Boston we had a great first half. We got that flow, the same type of a game. In the second game, we started playing out of control.

    ”We have to execute our offense, it’s offensive stuff mostly. Defensively, we played pretty good defense for the most part. Offensively we lost our pace, and I don’t know why. We’re working on it, and we need to be a little more consistent.”

  • Pekovic on limiting Anderson Varejao, the league’s leading rebounder: “Every night is a challenge for us, it’s not just Varejao—it’s every player. It’s going to be tough like every night, but we are here to play hard and show what we got.”