Budinger Undergoes Knee Surgery
Wolves forward Chase Budinger underwent successful arthroscopic left knee surgery on Monday in Pensacola, Fla., the team announced this morning. Dr. James Andrews of the Andrews Institute of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine performed the surgery.
Budinger tore the meniscus in that same knee last November, and he missed much of the season during his recovery. He returned to play the final three weeks of 2012-13, spent the summer rehabbing and by the time he returned to Minnesota for workouts early last month he sounded confident in his recovery. His knee, he said, was getting back to full strength and he once again felt trust in his leaping and his cuts.
But last week, the team announced Budinger had suffered a cartilage injury and immediately went to visit Dr. Andrews to set up his procedure. Budinger is officially listed as sidelined indefinitely, and the Wolves will provide more information on his status when available.
On Monday at Target Center, Wolves coach Rick Adelman said Budinger is a tough loss at small forward to start the season. That entire crew projected to play the 3—Corey Brewer, Derrick Williams, Shabazz Muhammad—is either new to the team or to the position. Budinger was the most experienced player at that position within Adelman’s system. Brewer is the favorite for the starting nod.
“I just felt so bad for [Budinger],” Adelman said. “He’s the type of player who can really add to what we do offensively. I feel bad for him, and I really don’t want it to become a trend. With last year it really became a trend. We really want to see him get back as quick as possible.”
Monday’s Media Day was filled with optimism from all parties involved—the players, coaches, media and fans all brought a vibe with them that this season is different. This is the season the Wolves end their nine-year playoff drought. Brewer, who played for Minnesota from 2007-11, said there is a different feel inside Target Center compared to when he was here last. Williams said he’s heard playoffs discussed far more than in years past.
All of that, however, is contingent upon a few things—one of which is health. That’s the part the team can’t control. What they can control is how they grow together, get better every day and focus on the little things they need to do on the court.
That comes from each player individually. Each member of the roster needs to work toward filling their own role and stepping up when needed, regardless of circumstance. Shooting guard Kevin Martin said his 10-year career began due to someone else’s injury. When he was in Sacramento, he got a chance to start 41 games during his second season because Bonzi Wells was injured.
His point was everyone hopes Budinger gets back on the court soon—Martin and Budinger were both excited to play together again, having both played for Adelman in Houston—but in the meantime teammates need to find a way to fill that role.
“The next guy has to step up,” Martin said, “so it’s good nobody talks like that because I wouldn’t be sitting here today if it wasn’t for the injury. I probably would have the greatest NBADL career ever if it wasn’t for Wells going down my second year…so yeah, let’s just forget the past and move on, and if someone goes down, next man gets his opportunity.”
The team made moves like bringing in Martin to help bolster lineup and make it more balanced than in recent years. Wolves forward Kevin Love said while everyone is hoping for a speedy recovery, the team is in position to have that next man up philosophy so long as the team doesn’t go through the collection of injuries it did last year.
“We made some great moves, like I mentioned before with Corey coming back, Kevin Martin,” Love said. “It’s obviously unfortunate what happened with Chase. I mentioned Ronny [Turiaf], he’s going to be our energy guy coming off the bench. And really in our lineup we’re going to have guys that play extremely hard and bring energy every single night. So I think that is probably the No. 1 most exciting thing.”