Wolves Waive Josh Howard
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that they have waived forward/guard Josh Howard after an MRI revealed he has a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his right knee and will miss the remainder of the 2012-13 season.
The injury occurred in the second quarter of the Friday, Dec. 14 contest at New Orleans. Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said he did not know the severity of the injury until today.
"I feel really bad for him. He worked so hard to bring himself back," Adelman said. "It's just a shock. He did a good job for us."
Howard was signed by the Wolves as a free agent on Nov. 16 in order to combat some of the early-season injury woes facing the franchise. By the Time Howard signed with Minnesota, the Wolves had lost both Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger to knee injuries that required surgery.
He joined the club and gradually got acquainted to the team's system and teammates as well as fine-tuning his conditioning. It culminated with his best game in a Wolves' uniform on Dec. 4 at Philadelphia, where he scored 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting and hit 2-of-3 3-pointers and grabbed 10 rebounds. He backed it up with a 33-minute performance at Boston in which he scored 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting.
"It's unfortunate to see Josh's season come to an abrupt end due to injury," President of Basketball Operations David Kahn said in a team release. "Due to several injuries, we have an immediate need at the wing position, necessitating today's transaction. Josh was a consummate professional and important contributor to our team in his short time with us and we wish him the best with his recovery."
Howard averaged 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 11 games this season for Minnesota. Howard suffered a torn ACL to his left knee while playing for Washington in 2010. He was an unsigned free agent to start the 2012-13 season.
His absence adds another hole on the Wolves' roster at the wing position. Howard, a 10-year veteran and 2007 All-Star, brought veteran experience plus size an athleticism at the small forward and shooting guard positions. Without Howard, the Wolves lose a viable back up for Andrei Kirilenko at the 3 plus a capable option at shooting guard. Right now the Wolves have four healthy guards—Luke Ridnour, JJ Barea, Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved—and Rubio is on limited minutes as he makes his comeback from knee surgery last year.
Adelman said the team hasn't talked much about potential replacements for Howard on the roster, saying the team is more concerned with tonight's game against the Thunder. Still, Howard leaves a big void the team needs to address.
"We need someone like Josh, that’s really what we need," Adelman said. "Especially a backup 3 that can guard perimeter people. We better get somebody, but I don’t know who that is at this point. We need some versatility more than anything else.”
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