Wolves crush Cavaliers 129-95 but injuries continue to pile up
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Minnesota Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis has said multiple times this season that they won't know who they are as a team until the whole roster is healthy.
It looks like that may take a little longer.
First, the good news. Beasley sprained his right ankle late in Friday's loss to the San Antonio Spurs and is day-to-day. He went out and tested it during an early shoot-around before ruling himself out.
Tolliver, on the other hand, injured his right knee – also against the Spurs – and Rambis said he will "be out for a while."
There is no official diagnosis for Tolliver's injury but it is an issue with his right MCL and he will stay back on the team's road trip to New York and be evaluated on Monday but the early diagnosis is not good. Tolliver sported a noticeable limp on his way to the team bench.
"It is substantial so he will be out for awhile," Rambis said.
The 6-foot-8 forward/center was averaging in 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game off the bench but Rambis doesn't anticipate bringing anyone in to fill his spot.
"There are other people we can play at that four spot so I think we have enough people," Rambis said.
Thankfully for the Wolves, Nikola Pekovic made his return to the court Saturday after missing three weeks with a sprained foot scoring seven points and seven rebounds in 12 minutes. Pekovic is one of the guys Rambis mentioned that can slide down and play the four in Tolliver's absence.
But as one Wolf goes down, another is almost back.
Point guard Jonny Flynn played a rehab game Friday night with the Wolve's NBDL affiliate Sioux Falls Skyforce and was back with the team Saturday.
"It was good to get out there last night," said Flynn, who finished with eight points nine assists and six turnovers in 24 minutes.I had a great time finally just getting out and playing after a long time of sitting out so it was a great experience."
"He did well," Rambis said. "He didn't play as many minutes as he wanted to. He got a little fatigued, I think he isn't quite in game shape. Did some good things offensively, did some good things defensively. Turned the basketball over some. So it was about what you'd expect out there."
Just because Flynn rejoined the Wolves doesn't mean his time with the Skyforce is over. Per NBA rules, any first or second-year player can be assigned to the team's D-League affiliate up to three times a season but Rambis thinks it's important Flynn is with the Wolves in-between games.
"Personally, I'd like to see how he does playing back-to-back games and also playing extended minutes and then take it from there, if not sooner," Rambis said.
The next back-to-back for the Skyforce is next Friday and Saturday against Tulsa so if Rambis has his way, and there are no set-backs, Flynn would rejoin the team sometime during their grueling six-game road trip that starts next Saturday in Chicago.
The first quarter of the Wolves season has been defined by injuries. Flynn and Martell Webster have yet to play, Luke Ridnour, Michael Beasley, Wayne Ellington and Pekovic have all missed time with various ailments but Rambis – who has been around the league since 1980 – wont use it as an excuse.
"(All the injuries) have all been blows but you just got to keep going," Rambis said. "Can't worry about it. Can't cry about it. Gives opportunities for other guys to step up and play and its part of the NBA team existence and we just have to move forward."