CHICAGO – Brandon Roy is sitting out for the Timberwolves Saturday night against the Bulls at the United Center. The sore right knee that took him out of Friday night’s 96-94 win is still bothering him, and the team determined it would be best to keep him out another night. Chase Budinger will start in Roy’s place at shooting guard.
Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman did not give a specific time frame for Roy’s return, and the fact that he’s even on the road with the team goes along with Adelman’s day-to-day prognosis.
“He bumped it a few weeks ago,” Adelman said, referring to soreness that lingered after the team’s final preseason game Oct. 26. “It was the same knee. I don’t know. A guy that’s had the knee problems he’s had, or anybody who’s had knee problems, you’re going to have things where you step back a little bit. I’m not going to be overly concerned right now. I think we just have to take it day by day.”
Adelman said before Saturday’s game that he went into the season with the expectation that a situation like this might arise, and he called the soreness a “minor setback.” In addition, he pointed out that the expectations with Roy had changed immensely since he signed in July. Back then, the team expected to have Ricky Rubio on the floor eventually and Kevin Love immediately, but with both out, the shooting guard has had to take on more than he otherwise would have. That expanded role is not necessarily a cause for the soreness, but it’s altered the repercussions of him missing a few games, which the team imagined would not be such a strain.
“I think you’ve got to give it some time, and he has to have some patience,” Adelman said. “So far, he’s been terrific. He hasn’t forced anything. He’s led us in assists two or three games. If he’s productive, that’s all we want right now.”
With Roy out and Budinger in the starting lineup, the Timberwolves’ second unit will miss one of its key cogs. Budinger led the team in scoring with 18 points on Friday, and he’s averaging 12.4 points and 3.6 rebounds on the season playing mostly as the backup small forward. Fortunately, though, Adelman’s team affords him a level of flexibility when it comes to Budinger getting some time with the second unit. He can substitute Alexey Shved in for Budinger earlier and then put Budinger back in as small forward Andrei Kirilenko’s backup.
Missing Roy will likely not be a large blow to the team’s scoring or defense; he’s averaged just 5.8 points per game so far. However, he has led the Timberwolves in assists early this season, with 4.6 per game. Without Roy as a facilitator and with J.J. Barea (4.3 assists per game) out as well, the Timberwolves’ offense will need to find its rhythm from a different source.