Per several reports – that were later confirmed by the team’s official twitter account – SF Chase Budinger has been cleared to return to full contact practice, getting one stop closer to being back on the hardwood.
Budinger hasn’t been able to play this season and only participated in 23 contests last year before suffering an injury that kept him off the court through the reminder of the year. There’s still no timetable for this return, but the fact that he has been cleared to practice shows a step in the right direction and suggests Minnesota could see him playing sooner than expected.
When Budinger is clear to return to the action he will likely assume a backup role to defensive specialist Corey Brewer, but it wouldn’t be strange to see the former Houston Rockets player taking over a starting role if Brewer continues with the sloppy play he has shown in recent weeks.
Budinger is capable of being a serviceable defender, and he’s also an offensive weapon thanks to his shooting, especially from beyond the arc. While his career numbers aren’t very impressive – 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game – he has shown he can produce when given enough time on the court.
The Timberwolves got off to a fast start, but they cooled off in recent weeks and are they are now playing .500 ball in their last contests. Without a doubt, Budinger’s return will boost the team going forward as he’s adept to perform on both ends of the court and will add another quality player to the team’s rotation in their quest for a playoff spot.