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Updated: April 3rd, 2012 12:01am
Luke Ridnour carried off with ankle injury in Wolves' loss to Kings

Luke Ridnour carried off with ankle injury in Wolves' loss to Kings

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The hits just keep on coming for the Minnesota Timberwolves as their once-promising season continues to spiral out of control.

Luke Ridnour was carried off the court after spraining an ankle late in the third quarter in Monday's 116-108 loss to the Sacramento Kings. Ridnour -- who had 13 points and six assists -- did not return to the game and no further update was given.

That left the Wolves down to their fourth option at point guard, Malcolm Lee, because J.J. Barea (bruised thigh) didn't make the trip and Ricky Rubio (knee) is out for the season.

Even Kevin Love appeared to be out of gas while battling foul trouble in the third straight loss for the Wolves, who pulled within four points with less than a minute to go but couldn't finish off the comeback.

The Wolves are now 4-11 since they beat thee Portland Trail Blazers on March 7 and held sole possession of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The skinny

Love scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Wolves, who gave veteran Brad Miller the start in the building where he played five seasons for the Kings.

The 35-year-old center, who has said he'll retire after the season, turned back the clock and was 3-of-3 from behind the 3-point arc in the first quarter on his way to a season-high 11 points.

Miller was backed up at center by Nikola Pekovic, who returned after missing eight of the past nine games because of bone spurs in his right ankle. Pekovic will be playing through pain that won't go away until he undergoes cleanup surgery in the offseason.

Pekovic made his first appearance with 4:39 left in the opening quarter and grimaced noticeably throughout the game but still managed to put up 17 points, four rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes.

The return of Pekovic also meant the Wolves had an extra body to put on DeMarcus Cousins, who will always be on the radar for Wolves fans after David Kahn passed on him in the 2010 draft to select Wesley Johnson.

Cousins scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 30 minutes. He continues to put together an impressive sophomore season while Johnson struggles, averaging 17.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

Johnson scored eight points in 22 minutes.

Turning point

The game completely turned on its head after Ridnour left. The Wolves appeared to be shell-shocked and allowed the Kings to get whatever they wanted in the fourth quarter before a comeback attempt that was both too little and too late.

The Wolves only trailed by a point heading into the fourth quarter, but things quickly got out of hand with Ridnour in the back getting x-rays. The Kings opened up final frame on a 13-2 run and held the Wolves scoreless until the 7:29 mark, when Love finally hit a jumper.

Numbers game

5: Games below .500 for the first time this season for the Wolves after Monday's loss.

2: Turnovers by the starting five combined.

52.4: Percent shooting from 3-point range for the Wolves, who actually shot the ball well in the loss. They were 48.1% from the field overall.

Injury report

The Wolves were once again without Barea and Michael Beasley, who both didn't make the trip.

Beasley is dealing with a sprained toe and has missed seven of the past 12 games with the lingering injury that doesn't seem to completely heal.

Barea, meanwhile, has now missed six straight games after suffering a bruise to his thigh against the Oklahoma City Thunder two weeks ago.

Both are listed as day-to-day and their return should be any game now. The Wolves badly need their two biggest sparks off the bench while they continue to look lifeless down the stretch of the season.

The need for Barea to return just got ratcheted up even more after Ridnour was carried off the court.

Up next

The Wolves get Tuesday off before returning to action on Wednesday at home against the Golden State Warriors.

The Wolves won the only other game against the Warriors this season on March 19 by a score of 97-93. They will play the third and final game of their season series on April 22.

The good news from there for the Wolves is that they get Thursday and Friday off -- a rarity in this lockout-shortened season. They return to the court on Saturday night in New Orleans to take on the Hornets.

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