The days before the start of the 2012-2013 NBA season seem like an eternity ago, especially for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Back then, the Timberwolves were looked upon as a young team that was ready to make some noise in the Western Conference and possibly make the playoffs for the first time since the 2003-2004 season.
Making the playoffs for the first time in nine years actually wasn’t a stretch. They had their superstar Kevin Love, young talented players like Nikola Pekovic and Ricky Rubio, once he returned from his ACL-injury, and key signings like Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko and Chase Budinger joining the team.
That really does seem like forever ago.
Now Minnesota has been without Love, Budinger and Roy for most of the season. Love has broken his hand twice. Roy’s knees were a concern at the start of the season and a valid one since they look like they might once again force him to retire. Budinger tore his meniscus and required surgery. More than those lengthy injuries, Kirilenko is also currently sidelined indefinitely with a calf injury.
Last night against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Timberwolves added another name to their laundry list of injuries, Pekovic’s. Pekovic played just nine minutes in their 116-94 loss to L.A. after an abdominal strain, a notoriously tricky injury that leaves a very uncertain time-table for a player’s return.
Without Love in the lineup, Pekovic has been the leading scorer and rebounder for Minnesota, averaging 15.9 points and 8.8 boards per game. If he’s unable to come back soon, things are going to look even more dismal for the Wolves. They’re already at a disappointing 20-35, but if Pekovic has to miss a significant amount of time, that’s going to get worse in a hurry.