Wolves' Ronny Turiaf suffers fractured elbow, return date not set
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Injury woes were a constant force against the Minnesota Timberwolves a year ago, and it's a trait they were hoping to avoid this season.
But the Wolves received bad news on Saturday after an MRI revealed a radial head fracture in backup center Ronny Turiaf's right elbow.
The injury came early in the second quarter of the Wolves' trouncing of Oklahoma City on Friday. Turiaf elevated to grab a rebound from Jeremy Lamb's missed shot, but got tangled up with the Thunder's Nick Collision in the low post and came down awkwardly on his right side.
Turiaf, in obvious pain, walked back to the bench before exiting to the locker room for the rest of the night.
The Timberwolves have not yet determined a timetable for his return. Turiaf, currently in his 10th season in the NBA, is expected to be reevaluated later in the week to establish a potential return date.
Turiaf's elbow will likely take several weeks to heal, but coach Rick Adelman downplayed the long-term severity of the injury.
"Ronny was playing so well. It's just unfortunate," Adelman said after practice Saturday. "I'm glad it's not anything serious, because he's really done a nice job for us. He's got experience. He can be on the court and you may look at the stat sheet and say he didn't do much, but he does a lot. Hopefully he'll get back quickly."
In the meantime, the Wolves must address the vacancy at center. With Turiaf out, Adelman is targeting rookie Gorgui Dieng to take on a heightened role as the primary reserve behind starter Nikola Pekovic. Adelman also discussed in-game rotation adjustment such as shifting Kevin Love down to center and bringing in Dante Cunningham at power forward.
Dieng, the 21st overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, made his NBA debut Friday against the Thunder, going scoreless with zero rebounds in 14 minutes.
While the severity is still waiting to be determined, Turaif's fractured elbow doesn't help do anything to stave off the unwelcome memories of what a slew of injuries did to derail Minnesota's season last year.
Swingman Chase Budinger is already out for the first two months of the season after having to undergo surgery to remove a quarter of his injured left meniscus.
Friday's victory over the Thunder was a dominant early season performance by the Wolves that sent them to a 2-0 start. Minnesota leaves Saturday afternoon for New York City, where they will face the Knicks on Sunday.