Shootaround Report | Injuries Getting Better, Wolves Focused On An Important Game
The Wolves are slowly but surely getting healthier heading into the All-Star break.
Jeff Teague is probable, Jerryd Bayless and Derrick Rose are questionable and Tyus Jones is doubtful. Robert Covington remains out. Unfortunately, Andrew Wiggins was also added to the injury report with an illness. While those guys might not be back tonight, it’s nice to see them getting back on the court, and their presence has given the team a lift after a tough road trip.
In Monday night’s contest against the Clippers, the Wolves are going to need a lift wherever they can get it. The Clippers currently hold the No. 8 seed in the West and despite having just traded their best player, are a deep and competitive team. Getting a quality win tonight would go a long way to helping the Wolves shake off their road woes of the past week.
That starts on the defensive end. While the Wolves have been game-planning for the Clippers, they are more focused on their defensive fundamentals.
“We focused a lot on us. On trying to take care of our defense,” said Interim Head Coach Ryan Saunders. “We spent a good amount of time yesterday on that. Offensively we’ve been able to score the ball, but we know our defense has to improve.”
The Wolves have let some games slip away in the last week. While it’s good to be competing, it’s difficult to see so many close games not break their way.
“I think we’re playing hard but we’re not executing, we’re not doing the little things,” said Karl-Anthony Towns. “Those are the things that win games. You just can’t win purely off energy in this league, everyone’s too smart and too good so you got to play not only at a high energy but a high intellectual level as well.”
“We just got to make sure we communicate throughout the entire game,” said Rose. “Can’t let the stars get off. Everybody’s going to have different matchup problems every night, we just got to key in on certainly players and try to make it tough for them.”
It’s difficult for the players rehabbing injuries to watch from the sidelines as their team struggles, but it’s part of the job—coming back too early and getting re-injured hurts far more than it helps.
“It’s tough but that’s why I’m a professional,” said Rose. “With all the injuries I have I kept fighting. This is small compared to what I went through in the past. Focusing on the team, what we need right now, just trying to keep my spirits high.”
For the Wolves players that are on the court, it’s important not to get caught up in the injury struggles. While they want their teammates back as soon as possible, they have a job to do, too.
“Regardless of the situation we got to be ready next man up and got to be ready to play at a high level,” said Towns. “Had a lot of chances to win and wasted them, so just another night where we have to go out there and play for 48 minutes.”
The Wolves take on the Clippers at 7 p.m. Monday night. You can read our scouting report and get more information on how to watch and how to buy tickets here.