MINNEAPOLIS – The curse of the knees continues in Minnesota.
The Timberwolves announced Thursday that they waived Josh Howard after learning that the knee he injured last Friday in New Orleans was actually a right ACL tear. The team had originally believed it was only hyperextended, but further tests Thursday morning revealed the tear.
“I just really feel bad for him,” coach Rick Adelman said. “He had worked so hard to get himself back and did a good job for us, and I didn’t know anything about that until this morning. It was just a shock. I really felt bad for him.”
Howard, a guard-forward, agreed to terms with the Timberwolves on a one-year deal on Nov. 15, just five days after the team lost Chase Budinger with a torn meniscus until the spring. The Timberwolves needed help at the wing, and Howard fit the bill; in 11 games this season, including four starts, he averaged 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 18.8 minutes.
Howard, 32, spent the first six and a half seasons of his career with the Mavericks and was an All-Star in 2007. He then spent a season and a half with the Wizards and the 2011-12 season with the Jazz. While with the Wizards in March 2010, Howard tore the ACL in his left knee and missed the remainder of that season and most of 2010-11.
Howard was working out as recently as on the Timberwolves’ road trip Monday and Tuesday in Florida. He hoped to return to action this week before the ACL tear was discovered.
With Howard waived, the Timberwolves have again cleared their 15th roster spot, which Will Conroy held before Howard. They’re on the market for a replacement player, Adelman said, but they haven’t yet come up with a list of names. They’re looking for a small forward or a shooting guard, someone to take some pressure off Andrei Kirilenko, and they’re looking for someone soon.
When asked what kind of player he’d most like, Adelman didn’t mention names, but he gave a few qualifications: a backup small forward type who can guard players on the perimeter.
“We need somebody like Josh,” Adelman said.
And someone like Budinger, someone like Brandon Roy, even like Malcolm Lee. The Timberwolves know what they want. They even have what they want, but they’re injured and on the bench, all with bum knees.
When asked if he believes in jinxes or curses, Adelman laughed and said, “no,” but he’s beginning to wonder if it’s him.
“I’ve never had problems with my knees, so I don’t know what this is about,” Adelman said. “The last three teams I’ve had, this one really tops the list, though. It’s just something that keeps happening.
“For a guy like Josh, you just feel for him. He was really going to help us. He was playing well, and he worked hard. To have this come out of nowhere, I was just shocked.”