Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Andrei Kirilenko strained his left calf muscle in Tuesday night’s 84-83 overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns. The injury appears to be more serious than originally anticipated because Kirilenko could miss Thursday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 32-year-old recorded two rebounds and one assist, but did not score a single point in the 10 minutes before he was removed from the court with the injury. One has to assume that if Kirilenko was healthy and stayed in the game, the Suns never would have won the ridiculously close contest.
Kirilenko has gone through his fair share of injuries over his 10-year career. This is not the first time he has injured his left calf either as he had a similar incident in 2010. Considering the Timberwolves are well out of range of a playoff spot with their 20-34 record, it looks like Minnesota is perfectly content with Kirilenko taking all the time he needs to rest up.
The long-time Utah Jazz player has been in other news recently as it was reported only a few days ago that he will not reprise his role on the Russian national time in the future. He admitted that it is nothing personal with the team, but that he would prefer to spend more time with his children.
“It’s not connected to playing time, I’m not tired, I’m not tired of playing for the national team,” he said. “I want to be a better dad. I want to be with my family a little more. I think I already give a lot, play 12 years on the national team. There is time.”
Kirilenko is averaging 13.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting a career-high 51.1 percent this season.