MINNEAPOLIS – Don’t expect to see Rick Adelman stalking the sideline of a Minnesota Timberwolves game any time soon.
The coach, who has missed the team’s past six games, has been on a leave of absence while his wife, Mary Kay, is hospitalized. On Friday, the 12th day of Adelman’s absence, Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said he does not expect the coach to return “in the near term.”
“I think what Rick would like to do is make certain that his family situation is stabilized so that, if he does return, he feels it will be [permanent] rather than being in and out,” Kahn said.
Adelman’s son, David Adelman, who serves as a player development coach for the Timberwolves, has been with the team throughout. Assistant coach Terry Porter has served as interim head coach, leading Minnesota to a 1-5 record borne mostly of continued injuries to an already battered roster.
Despite being absent from the team, Adelman is still making the decisions around the Target Center. After the Timberwolves returned from their four-game, four-loss road trip, Adelman met with his team Wednesday morning. He offered words of encouragement, and he’s been in constant contact with the coaching staff.
Porter said he usually speaks with Adelman twice a day — once in the morning and once after practice. No personnel decision is made without his approval, and this is still Rick Adelman’s team, through and through.
“It’s not a decision made in regards to rotations and starters without him approving it,” Porter said. “I’m just his vice president, I guess I’d say. He’s still president. He’s still got any type of bills, anything that’s going to be passed, that goes across his desk before it goes into action. He’s got a lot of veto power.”
Porter said Adelman has also been in constant contact with the training staff, which may be the most active line of communication as the team’s injuries mount. So for now, Porter is settling into his role — however temporary it might be — and hoping to work some magic with a roster that has sustained what is perhaps the most injury attrition in recent NBA history.
“I’m preparing like I have to prepare for every game to be the lead until we hear something different with his situation,” Porter said. “It is just digging in and thinking of ways of how we can do different things, how we can tweak different things, to try to best fit the personnel we have.”