Adelman Steers Injury-Plagued Wolves

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HANGTIME SOUTHWEST — If Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman can somehow steer his dejected club through these latest injury setbacks to his two injury-marred stars, please reward him with long overdue recognition as coach of the year.

Before Saturday night’s game against Portland, and after learning that star forward Kevin Love would again be sidelined by a re-break to that darned right hand he originally fractured before the season by doing knuckle push-ups, Adelman marveled how, through one injury after another, his team had managed to pull off a 15-14 record.

With Love joining point guard Ricky Rubio, saddled with his second injury after a brief return from a torn ACL, on the bench once again, the Wolves dropped to 15-15 after a furious late comeback failed against the surging Trail Blazers.

A once-promising season, so filled with hope and excitement and adventure, is becoming one to forget, robbed by uncontrollable injury that now threatens to nosedive off the cliff as the Wolves sit in ninth place.

Rubio, the flashy, dynamic point guard destined for stardom, managed to play in just five games starting Dec. 15, but was unable to join the starting lineup before back spasms, perhaps caused by overcompensation for his knee, took him out after a Dec. 26 loss to Houston.

Rubio and Love, who had never really rounded into All-Star form, saddled with wilting shooting percentages, have played in just three games together.

“I’ve never been through anything like this,” Adelman told reporters before Saturday’s 102-97 loss, Minnesota’s sixth in the last nine games. “You start out with Ricky from the very beginning, hoping to get him back and then it’s just been one thing after the other.”

Dante Cunningham, Luke Ridnour and Alexey Shved are the only Wolves to have played in all 30 games. The injury list is mesmerizing. Obviously Rubio didn’t play for the first month-and-a-half and Love missed the first three weeks. Brandon Roy lasted just five games before more knee problems have forced him to consider re-retirement. Chase Budinger made it into a sixth game before sustaining a season-ending knee injury. Malcolm Lee played in 16 games before a knee injury took him out.

Josh Howard, brought in as an emergency replacement, was waived after he suffered an ACL injury.

J.J. Barea has missed five games, Andrei Kirilenko has missed four and Nikola Pekovic must feel fortunate to have only missed two when he sprained an ankle in November.

If the Wolves have any luck at all they’ll soon get Rubio back. They’ll need him. The remaining January schedule is a bear and could ultimately determine whether the Wolves will be a playoff contender and how active they might be come the trade deadeline.

Among 12 games left this month, Minnesota faces Atlanta twice, the Los Angeles Clippers twice, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Houston and Brooklyn. The Wolves play seven of the 12 on the road, where they’re just 6-10. Games at Washington and Charlotte at the end of the month will serve as must-wins.

In the hotly contested West, if the Wolves somehow head into February with a top-eight spot or anywhere close, be ready finally to give Adelman that long overdue coach of the year award. No questions asked.

24 Comments

  1. Wege says:

    Ridnour has missed several games this season due to the illness of one of his children. Only two Wolves have played in all 30 games.

    • dattebayo says:

      Sorry, but you’re mistaken. Ridnour, Shved and Cunningham have played in all 30 games so far. Williams, Amundson and Stiemsma could have probably played too, but they were out of the rotation in a few games.

      Maybe you’re confusing Ridnour with Fisher, who requested to be waived by the Mavs because of his daughter’s illness.

  2. jmndodge says:

    Another article approached this topic with some remembering of injury problems with other teams – and Adelman wondering
    “is it me?” Bottom line coaches are not responsible for most injuries – Blown knees, broken bones, fingers in the eye – these are unfortunate accidents of playing the game. Officials work to attempt balance between intense competition, physical play and dominance by the best athletes, and following the rules for the protection of the players, and to make competition equal. In another type of injury coaches play a major role – chronic back – ankle – knee – or ? injuries where players can play but not at full speed or ability, are injury’s that coaches need to monitor. They also need to be aware of the limits players of different ages bring to the game. Older players need reduced minutes – rookies often hit the wall mid-season – every individual is different. Certain athletes will/would play through anything, and can’t see what fatigue or nagging injury is doing to their own game. For Adelman he has an extreme challenge in managing the play of AK and Shved. Skilled competitors, injuried backups behind them, opposite ends of the spectrum – AK battles back problems with to many minutes, Shved is showing signs of fatigue in his shooting touch. Good coach – Great Roster – Huge Injury Problem – let’s hope we get healthy.

  3. #kingsallday says:

    the kings should look to get rick back as head coach. the maloofs were idiots for firing him.

  4. Mark says:

    It’s your time to shine now D.Will, show us why you’re the 2nd pick!!!!

  5. Mino says:

    try to get kenyon martin?

  6. tl says:

    wolves will be okay.. adelman is kinda good/used to this kinda situation.. remember the rockets? their only two all stars tmac and yao took turns to get injured and sometimes were both injured, but adelman still manged to get the team pretty darn good (22 game winning streak, push to game 7 with eventual champions Lakers in 2nd round without tmac and with yao down in the first game, etc)

  7. zz says:

    pg – Ridnour
    sg – Shved
    sf – AK47
    pf – D Will
    C – pek

    basically D will needs more time in his “preferred” position.

  8. Jsadrian says:

    What is it with his management that his stars always get injured?

  9. Thihan D says:

    This really sux for the Wolves. Just when u thought they had a good chance, they lost it.

  10. JKey says:

    After years of just watching, I decided to pick the Wolves as my team to follow this year. Well, I’m still rallying behind them despite all the injuries and losses. If they can clinch a playoff spot, I’ll be very happy. Love is still silly for doing knuckle push-ups.

  11. ripcity22 says:

    As a die hard Blazer fan, it’s hard to feel incredibly sorry or the T Wolves. No one ever wants to see players out due to injury, but the Blazer fan base has seen the entire would-be title contender Blazer team a few years ago go up in flames due to injuries. It happens. Not to mention, the signing of Brandon Roy by Minnesota is a head scratcher to me..it’s not that surprising he’s out again due to knee problems..he’s had those issues since college.

  12. Kamote says:

    Good thing they have Adelman as coach, who has this knack of squeezing the best out of a thin roster (Yao and TMac gone in Houston and still fighting for a playoff spot). Though its good that he can make a good team out of mediocre players, the consistency and continuation part would be their problem. If you have Love and Rubio as the cornerstone, and then lose them in the middle of the season, there’s just much confusion as for the team’s identity. Hopefully they’d get everyone back for at least a full year to fast-track the teams’ progress (which happened with OKC and only the Blazers had hoped for years ago).

    And we aren’t even talking about contract expirations yet where players can now move to other teams (at least OKC went to the finals before losing Harden).

  13. Ripcityfan4life says:

    Now you Sota fans can be true Portlanders, too. You have former Blazers: Roy, Cunningham, Webster, Adelman, Kahn, etc… and the injuries, along with it all! Feel our pain. Yes. We once, too, were destined for greatness.. then.. the rug got pulled out from beneath our feet.

    • Spire says:

      It is comparable, but it was worse for the Blazers because they could have won multiple titles easily during that time. Even if Wolves were healthy, they’d probably be a first or second round team. Still annoying though since Wolves would’ve only improved for next season and could make a few good runs but they have been held back now.

  14. chandler says:

    if they make the playoffs heck ya he should get coach of the year!

  15. jacobm says:

    sad tale here, if they were healthy they may be in the playoff chase, probably around the 5 seed area

  16. Christiaen says:

    You wonder how the Wolves prepare their players for the season. One after the other goes down with injuries….
    Are they fysically ready for the grind of a NBA season?

  17. dattebayo says:

    The Wolves record is promising, but they have lost twice to GSW, twice to POR and once each to HOU and UTA. They have always missed key players in those games, but if they lose all these tiebrakers to these teams contending for a playoff spot, the Wolves might end up with the same record and still miss the playoffs.
    Just a remark, yesterday they missed the starting pg, sg, pf, the starting center got a hip check and couldn’t play in the 2nd half and they missed their 6th man in Budinger. The Blazers meanwhile were redhot from three and the Wolves still could have won this game. If these Wolves ever get healthy this season, just how good can they be? Their upside has got to be through the roof.

    • Eli Odell J. says:

      you realize HOU, POR, GSW & UTA are just abreviations the league uses cause they dont have space in the lil text boxes
      YOU on the other hand do, see these names you mentioned are actual places see?

      • dattebayo says:

        I was just lazy :P
        I think everybody knows that POR stands for the Portland Trailblazers and so on…

  18. itsbigwes95 says:

    sort of reminds me of the blazers a couple years ago, but they had everyone getting injured and still posted two 50+ win seasons and made the play-offs. so no extra love for the t-wolves from me, portland could maybe have had another championship with the starting line up of roy, aldridge, oden, batum, and jerryd bayless. then coming off the bench would be webster, steve blake, fernandez, frye, outlaw, przybilla, rodriguez, and then some rookies. if they all stayed healthy (nate mcmillain got injured for goodness sakes!) they would have been contenders by now with 3 all stars in oden, roy, and aldridge. same thing with houston with t-mac and yao ming.

  19. Patrickmarc says:

    So much injuries, and more and more injuries every year,
    I hope they can all play together one day, Rubio Love and Roy.. at last, and Budinger too.

    This team is so good, even without them!

  20. Bersem says:

    Kirilenko would appreciate to play PF sometimes… And Williams could get some minutes at SF… But they also can look for a free-agent like Kenyon Martin…But they absolutely need a shooting guard