Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Mavericks | Dec. 30, 2013

Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Mavericks | Dec. 30, 2013






Timberwolves vs. Mavericks | 7:00 PM — Target Center

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM



While the Wolves take on the Mavericks tonight at the Target Center, the buzz around shootaround wasn’t about Nowitzki and Ellis, Love and Rubio or even the battle of the Ricks… It was instead about two players that won’t be playing tonight.

Huh?

Well, both Chase Budinger and Ronny Turiaf appeared in a 3-on-3 game at the end of shootaround with teammates Robbie Hummel, Gorgui Dieng, A.J. Price and Shabazz Muhammad. While Budinger’s appearance wasn’t much of a surprise (he was cleared to practice on Dec. 18 after offseason knee surgery), this was the first time Turiaf was seen participating in contact drills since suffering a radial head fracture of his right fracture against Oklahoma City on Nov. 1.

“It was really satisfying to just get out there and just be with the guys and just get some live action a little bit,” Turiaf said. “It’s been a tough process, so it felt pretty good being out there today.”

Both players looked comfortable and showed no signs of injury. Turiaf did show off his smile a few times, though, especially after Muhammed nailed four straight shots for Team Turiaf.

The Timberwolves have announced that neither player will be active for tonight’s game. The next step for both players is 5-on-5 practice. Budinger has been cleared for full-contact practice and actually participated in his first 5-on-5 game on Dec. 26. Turiaf has yet to be cleared for full contact. For both players, conditioning will be a major point of focus while trying to return to action.

“Yeah, it’s going to be tough. You really can’t mirror a basketball game at all,” Budinger said. “All you can really do is try to work as hard as you can with running, biking, weight lifting, but nothing compares to an actual practice or game, so I definitely need to get those in my belt to get that conditioning back.”

With Turiaf, his injury has lingered on a bit longer than many anticipated, but the big man’s been patient. As a guy who underwent a six-hour open-heart surgery in 2005, he’s aware that this injury is just another hurdle.

“I beat out heart surgery, so a little broken radial head, however you want to say it, it’s nothing too frustrating. The only frustrating part out of the whole equation is not being able to be out there with my teammates,” Turiaf said. “That’s the frustrating part. It’s not the injury itself. It happens to everybody, knock on wood, I don’t want that. But it’s part of the process, it’s part of being a pro athlete. It’s just a little obstacle that was in the way.”

Neither player has a timetable for a return, but for Minnesota fans, this little game of 3-on-3 after shootaround was a very positive sign.


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