MINNEAPOLIS – Alexey Shved, who’s been out since he sprained his ankle Thursday night against the Clippers, went through practice on Tuesday, but he’s still listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against Brooklyn.
“Alexey did do some stuff on the court to try to see how he feels,” coach Terry Porter said of the rookie guard. “I don’t think he’s ready yet. We’ll see tomorrow. We didn’t go up and down. Everything we did was half-court, and we went through that.”
Center Nikola Pekovic, who was expected to miss 7-10 days with a right quad contusion five days ago, did not practice.
Porter said the team is focused on itself and its errors after playing well for 2.5 quarters in Atlanta Monday and then falling apart, which has been a common theme in recent weeks. Guard Luke Ridnour said the team hasn’t even started looking at film of the Nets yet; he and his teammates are more focused on themselves and the things they’ve done to give away games.
Rubio’s progress: Porter spoke extensively Tuesday about Ricky Rubio’s progress. It’s been more than a month since the point guard’s return and three games since he reentered the starting lineup, and though his minutes are capped at 28, his role is expanding rapidly. Rubio is averaging 4.2 points and 4.9 assists per game, a long way from his 10.6 points and 8.2 assists last season, and he’s been struggling especially to find his shot.
When pressed about Rubio’s progress, Porter was hesitant to give an answer as to whether the point guard was exceeding expectations.
“It’s hard to determine,” Porter said. “If you’re trying to say, we don’t know where he’s going to be. That hasn’t been answered. He’s working through this, still. To get to the point where he’s totally comfortable, that’s something you’d have to ask him. I don’t know if he totally feels 100 percent.”
Rubio, for his part, elaborated a bit about how he believes his season has been progressing. He said that after his initial game on Dec. 15, perhaps the best of his season, he received text messages from players across the NBA telling him how jealous they were that he came back so strong when it had taken them three or so months to get back into form. Now, though, things have returned more to what one would expect, not that it makes the struggles any easier for Rubio.
“You know, I always think on the positive side,” he said. “So I was thinking like coming back and I would be healthy again. … But, after (the first game), it hit me a little bit. And I start feeling … it’s a process you have to go through after the surgery.”
“I think only one guy can do like he did was Adrian Peterson. That’s a bad example for me because it makes me look bad. But it takes time to recover from that injury.
Eastern Conference coming up: After playing only one Eastern Conference team between Dec. 24 and Jan. 21, the Timberwolves began a stretch Monday in which they’ll play four straight games against the conference. The East has been weaker all season – the West is winning the interconference game tally, 149-105, through Monday’s games – and the Timberwolves will be lucky on the road this weekend, facing two weak teams in Washington and Charlotte. However, the Wizards have been on an uptick recently, beating Portland Monday night for their sixth win in eight tries. (Conversely, the Timberwolves are 2-6 in their past eight games.)
Oh, and between now and that road trip, there’s a game in Minneapolis against the Nets, who have gone 11-2 under P.J. Carlesimo.