Nikola Pekovic (abdomen) and Andrei Kirilenko (calf) are doubtful going into Tuesday night’s showdown with the Western Conference’s top team, the San Antonio Spurs. This means the Minnesota Timberwolves will yet again suit up nine healthy players, including four point guards.
Even without Tony Parker as of late, the Spurs have been tremendously good. With a banged-up roster going up against a team like San Antonio, this could prove to be a recipe for disaster.
Pekovic has been fighting back from a strained abdomen injury and has missed five straight games as a result. As stated in my article from earlier this week, the Wolves have been hurting in the post without him and Kevin Love. Pekovic is a tough player to replace. He’s a mammoth of a man and has been a consistent post player for Minnesota, when healthy.
Kirilenko meanwhile, has been dealing with a calf strain that has kept him out a few games also. The Wolves have been very cautious with him this season whenever he has appeared to be banged up in any way. Kirilenko has been one of those quiet adhesive guys this year when healthy for the Wolves, putting up fairly even numbers in all categories across the stat sheet.
Minnesota signed him because of his ability to do just about anything they ask. Even at the age of 32, he has proven to be an above average defensive player and a guy with a high basketball IQ.
Being able to get both Kirilenko and Pekovic back sooner than later would be ideal for Minnesota if they want to see what a healthy squad can do before heading into the off-season.
The Wolves have said recently that they would like to re-sign Pekovic, which may depend on whether or not they think he can stay healthy. Kirilenko, on the other hand, has a relatively large contract for a guy at his age who also appears to be injury prone.
Both could be a huge lift to this team if they can stay in the lineup for a long period of time, but that scenario remains to be seen.