The Timberwolves announced Sunday that forward Chase Budinger suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee after falling in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game in Chicago.
Budinger traveled with the team to Dallas on Saturday night, and he underwent an MRI Sunday that revealed the damage. His surgery will be scheduled for later this week, and the team will determine a timetable for his return afterward.
The meniscus is the disc that cushions the knee joint, which steadies the knee. Recovery times vary largely among patients. The Timberwolves’ second-round draft pick, Robbie Hummel, tore his meniscus in Spain in early September and underwent surgery. He went on to make his debut with his Spanish team on Nov. 10.
Budinger is the fifth injured player on the Timberwolves roster. The team has lost a man in each game since Wednesday’s win over Orlando. With Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love already out, J.J. Barea sprained his left foot Wednesday, and Brandon Roy has been dealing with a sore knee since Friday. Love and Rubio both should return at some point in December, and the team is waiting to determine whether Barea will join it in Dallas for Monday’s game. He’s officially listed as day-to-day, as is Roy, who is with the team in Dallas.
With six minutes remaining in Saturday’s 87-80 loss, Budinger fell out of the scrum of players under the Timberwolves’ basket. The general consensus in the locker room among coaches and players was that he was shoved from behind, and Budinger said that his foot got caught during the fall, wrenching his knee into a twisted position.
With Budinger out, Alexey Shved will likely see more time at shooting guard, and the team will have short depth at small forward. So far this season, Budinger had emerged as a scoring threat; he was averaging 11.8 points and 3.5 rebounds before the injury, and he was made the game-winning shot on Friday against Indiana.