During his short NBA Developmental League stint earlier this season, Timberwolves forward Shabazz Muhammad had a chance to catch up with training camp mate Othyus Jeffers.
Muhammad’s takeaway from their conversations while suiting up for the Iowa Energy: "He wants to get back."
In the latest turn on Jeffers’ winding road of a career, he’s done it.
Suddenly riddled by injuries with the season winding down, the Timberwolves on Tuesday signed the well-traveled wing for the remainder of the season. After a strong summer-league showing for Minnesota, the team invited him to training camp but later cut him to leave room for Kevin Martin and Chase Budinger at the two-guard spot.
But Jeffers didn’t allow himself to become frustrated, he said before Tuesday night’s game against San Antonio.
"I’m past that phase," said Jeffers, who is available to play against the Spurs, with whom he spent a brief stint earlier this season. "I’m 28 now. When I was younger, I went through it a lot, but again, I love every opportunity I have. I’m blessed, I’m humble and I’m glad to be part of the Timberwolves."
Heading into Tuesday, Martin and Budinger were two of four unavailable players for Minnesota. Budinger (sprained right ankle) and Muhammad (right MCL sprain) are likely done for the season, and Martin (sore right heel) and center Nikola Pekovic (sore right ankle) are out against the Spurs.
Forward Dante Cunningham rejoined the team Tuesday after his second arrest since Thursday, this one for making terroristic threats. He’s already been charged with felony domestic assault stemming from an alleged early Thursday morning incident.
Cunningham is available to play versus San Antonio, coach Rick Adelman told reporters before the game.
With all the attrition, the Timberwolves turned back to Jeffers, the D-League’s No. 9 scorer and No. 4 rebounder. The 6-foot-5, 219-pound Robert Morris product averages 20.9 points, 9.9 boards, 3.6 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
"The organization knows what I can do," Jeffers said. "I’m here to lend a helping hand."
He brings the roster total back to 15 after the Timberwolves waived A.J. Price on Thursday.
This isn’t Jeffers’ first 2013-14 call-up; the Spurs signed him to a 10-day deal earlier this season, and he accumulated 34 minutes spread across four appearances.
An undrafted free agent, Jeffers has bounced between the NBA, D-League and Europe since 2008, when he won the D- League’s rookie of the year award while playing for Iowa. He’s appeared in 35 NBA games and averages 3.9 points and 2.6 rebounds.
"He’s with us all camp and everything else," Adelman said of Jeffers, who will wear No. 0. "He’s already been called up by San Antonio earlier. He’s been around, and we know him. He’ll compete if we need to play him. And so it made a lot of sense just to get him."