MINNEAPOLIS — Both Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko will be available for the Timberwolves Sunday night against New Orleans, and Rick Adelman gave every indication that both would start.
“My tendency is to start them,” Adelman said. “They’re two of our best players. . . . I want to see how they perform, and I think that’s the best way to do that is to start them. I would hate not to start them and then have them come in the game and pull something. Then it’s on me.”
Kirilenko was not available for comment before Sunday’s game, but Pekovic spoke to the media and said that he doesn’t anticipate having a minutes limit or that he’ll have to sit for the second game of this this back-to-back on Monday in Memphis. Neither player was able to practice with the team in the week before his comeback — the Timberwolves haven’t held a practice since March 8 — and they will rely on the progress made in individual workouts to have gotten them back into game shape.
Kirilenko has been out with a calf strain since Feb. 26, Pekovic with an abdominal strain since Feb. 28. Since Kirilenko’s injury, the team has gone 2-8. Sunday’s game will mark the first this month in which the team will have at least 10 healthy players. (Kirilenko and Pekovic make 11.)
When asked whether he had any update on Chase Budinger and whether he might be making his comeback Sunday as well, Adelman laughed and offered this quip: “I don’t want to get too enthusiastic.” (So, no.)