Practice Report: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

Email / Twitter

Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved worked diligently after practice doing full court drills with assistant coach T.R. Dunn and player development coach David Adelman on Thursday at Target Center, testing out that sprained left ankle in order to diagnose whether or not he’s ready to rejoin the team after missing the past three games.

In the end, Shved was ruled out for this weekend’s road trip to Washington and Charlotte and will not make the trip. He and center Nikola Pekovic (right quad contusion) will remain back in Minnesota.

“I feel like I really want to play,” Shved said after practice. “But I’m really not so ready.”

The problem right now, as is common with sprained ankles, is lateral mobility and making cuts. Right now Shved said he can run straight most days, but when he needs to show agility he is having trouble doing so.

That means the Wolves will again have three true guards on the trip in Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea. Last night against Brooklyn the Wolves dabbled with moving Mickael Gelabale into the back court, and in the past two weeks they’ve also adjusted and rotated guys like Derrick Williams into the back court.

It’s an all-for-one message right now from acting coach Terry Porter and the coaching staff, who are tasked with trying to pull out a pair of winnable games on the road against the two teams with the worst records in the East while also helping the Wolves end a stretch in which they’ve lost seven of eight.

“We’ve got to stick together,” Porter said. “We’ve got to lean on each other and trust each other and try to get through this. Until we get the other guys back and we have some more guys, more other options, this is where everybody’s got to pick up a little bit more—do a little bit more. But the important thing is we battle. We’ve done that every time we step on the floor.”

The Wolves attempted to rectify some of their offensive and defensive breakdowns during Thursday’s practice, then looked ahead to the Wizards and how they’ve won five of their last eight games.

Rubio addresses postgame comments

Wolves guard Ricky Rubio was visibly frustrated after last night’s game against the Nets, partially a mix of the team’s recent slump but also him not getting minutes down the stretch of a tight game.

Rubio said Thursday that it was a matter of wanting to play and helping the team, but he also needs to respect his teammates that are on the court.

“I’m going to say the same thing I always say—I always want to play, even when I don’t deserve it,” Rubio said. “I have ambition and I want to play and I want to help the team, and I want to be there in the last minutes.”

Rubio said Wednesday night that he planned to talk to Terry Porter about the final minutes of the game, and that conversation hasn’t happened yet. But Porter, a former player, understands Rubio’s standpoint and said the key is not always liking decisions but understanding them. In Wednesday’s case, Porter stuck with Barea after he hit a shot down the stretch and looked to be the hot hand.

“Everyone is frustrated with the whole situation; there’s nothing wrong with that from a competitive standpoint,” Porter said. “Frustrated when you don’t get a chance in the fourth quarter. That’s the nature of the beast. Throughout the year, there has to be some patience and some sacrifices when you talk about what we’re going through. Guys have to take themselves out of the situation because of what’s better for the team and what we’re trying to get done.”

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