Nikola Pekovic's ankle is healthy enough to return to the lineup Monday against Boston.
By JOAN NIESENFS North
MINNEAPOLIS —Nikola Pekovic will play for the Timberwolves Monday night against Boston after missing Saturday's game against Memphis with a sprained left ankle. Coach Rick Adelman said he's hardly surprised by Pekovic's quick return and that the big man was pretty close to being able to play Saturday.
"He said the other night that he just couldn't loosen it up before the last game," Adelman said. "He really felt that . . . after a day off, he'd be okay to go."
Saturday's game marked the 16th that Pekovic has missed this season and the third because of that left ankle, which he also sprained in Dallas in November. Despite the preponderance of seemingly minor injuries that have repeatedly sidelined the center, though, Adelman said he remains confident in Pekovic's ability to play through the season and said that he thinks his resilience could improve.
"He plays hard all the time, and so he gets little nicks," Adelman said.
"He's going to have to learn how to play, how to adjust as he's going. He's not used to playing that many games. I don't have a concern about it. He keeps himself in good shape. He works really hard. So he should be okay."
The Celtics will be without Rajon Rondo (torn ACL), Kevin Garnett (left ankle) and Paul Pierce (personal reasons) on Monday. The Timberwolves have lost 11 straight to the Celtics, with the streak dating back to March 4, 2007, when Garnett was still playing in Minnesota.
The Timberwolves' last win against Boston came at home on Feb. 11, 2007, when Ricky Davis hit a buzzer-beater. Interestingly enough, Davis was Minnesota's leading scorer less than a month later, on March 6, 2007, when the Timberwolves won their most recent game against the Lakers.
Replay at end of games: Celtics coach Doc Rivers is on the NBA's competition committee, and when asked about the no-call on Kobe Bryant last Wednesday he said that such instances should be addressed this offseason.
"We all want to get the game right, and I think it's very important to do that," Rivers said. "It has been discussed on how to expand without keeping the game, making the game last another hour. But I think it's going to happen. I don't know how."
No KG: When asked whether it would be difficult for Garnett to sit out Monday's game, Rivers said he thinks it will be. In his seven games against his former team, Garnett's Celtics have gone 7-0, and he's averaged 14.9 points on 61.0 percent shooting.
"Every year, we don't know if it's his last time," Rivers said of Garnett. "Obviously I hope not and we all hope not, but you never know with Kevin. Every summer from this point on in his career he's going to decide if he's coming back or not. I would hope that this isn't, because you would want him to play in this last game here."