Nikola Pekovic has bursitis in ankle, team says he's out indefinitely
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Wolves center Nikola Pekovic left Monday's game in the first quarter with an apparent injury. He missed the final three quarter in Minnesota's win against the Bulls and backup Ronny Turiaf filled in admirably.
Now, Pekovic will be out at least another 7-10 days, according to the team.
Pekovic on Tuesday underwent an MRI exam that revealed bursitis in his right ankle, the team announced. He'll be held out of basketball activities for that stretch of 7-10 days and is "out indefinitely," according to the team's release.
Before the injury, Pekovic had started in each of the team's 44 games. His current averages in points (18.0), rebounds (9.1) and minutes (32.5) all are career highs, according to the release.
Coach Rick Adelman told reporters after the game Monday Pekovic had been experiencing soreness in his ankle throughout the Wolves' road trip but had refrained from bringing it up earlier.
The team started beating the drum for his All-Star reserve candidacy on Monday, with a "Bruise Brothers" album cover. With the crowded Western Conference, Pekovic was a stretch to make the team before the injury. Regardless, his numbers warranted him being part of the All-Star conversation
If Pekovic returns at the end of the 7-10 day window given by the Wolves, he would miss six games (Jan. 29, New Orleans; Jan. 31, Memphis; Feb 1, Atlanta; Feb 4, Los Angeles; Feb 5 Oklahoma City; Feb 7, New Orleans).
The Wolves (21-21) have nine games remaining until getting a full week off for the All-Star break in mid-February.
With Pekovic out, the Wolves will turn to fellow bigs Ronny Turiaf and rookie Gorgui Dieng to fill his spot. When Pekovic was pulled six minutes into Monday's win at Chicago, Turiaf stepped in and went off for a season-high 14 points in 32 minutes - his highest total in both categories in three years.
Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said two weeks ago that Dieng was being considered for a D-League assignment when the team returned from its long road trip.
But that plan is likely going to remain on the backburner. Dieng, who has averaged 1.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 25 games, has a key chance now at seeing increased playing time.
The Pekovic-less Wolves will try to snap an 0-10 streak in games with a chance to go above .500 Wednesday night against New Orleans.