The Timberwolves announced just before pregame on Saturday night that shooting guard Kevin Martin suffered a broken left thumb and will be sidelined indefinitely. The release said an update will be provided at an appropriate time.
Martin took an X-ray this morning at TRIA Orthopedics in Bloomington, which revealed a non-displaced fracture of the distal phalanx in his left thumb. The injury happened in the final minutes of last night’s 98-91 loss to the Pelicans in New Orleans.
This definitely shakes up the Wolves’ rotation on the wing, which had been stable all year long. Martin, who is in his first season with the Timberwolves, has appeared in 48 of the team’s 50 games and is averaging 19.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 32.3 minutes per game.
Not only has he been durable to date, but he’s also been an addition to this back court that this franchise hasn’t traditionally had. Martin, a 6-foot-7 off guard, has provided length and a scoring touch both inside and on the perimeter this season. Minnesota hasn’t always had that luxury, often in recent years foregoing traditional shooting guard play to patch over injuries or lack of depth. Last season, Minnesota started point guard Luke Ridnour at shooting guard alongside Ricky Rubio for much of the year. Martin’s presence gives the Timberwolves a more standard look at the 2 spot.
In Martin’s absence, the Wolves have a few options in their rotation. Among players who could increase minutes are Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Chase Budinger, Alexey Shved, Robbie Hummel and Shabazz Muhammad. Mbah a Moute and Budinger are likely the primary beneficiaries and can bolster the Wolves’ lineup in different ways—Mbah a Moute is more of a defensive presence, while Budinger provides more of an offensive spark.
Shved’s minutes have fluctuated based on need and circumstance this year, while Hummel has been a healthy scratch during the Wolves’ healthier stretches over the last month but also started two games earlier this year. Muhammad’s minutes have been sparse but he did put together a strong stretch of play over four games in the D-League earlier this season.