Wolves Saturday: Pekovic sidelined

MINNEAPOLIS – The Timberwolves will be without Nikola Pekovic on Saturday against the Grizzlies. The center tested his ankle during warmups but will sit due to a left ankle sprain he sustained during Friday night’s game.

After the win over Oklahoma City, Pekovic said his foot and ankle were feeling all right, but he received treatment that night and then was a late scratch for Saturday’s contest.

Pekovic’s matchup against Marc Gasol would have been one of his most difficult of the season, and the Grizzlies big man has contained him in each of the previous matchups. Gasol, who’s arguably been the best center in the NBA this season and is a strong candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, returned on Wednesday from an abdominal tear, which was originally supposed to keep him out until the playoffs. In reality, he missed just two games and has scored 13 and then 21 points in his two outings since then.

This will be the 16th game this season Pekovic has missed. Since returning from his last injury (an abdominal strain that kept him out for eight games), the big man has averaged 15.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. He sprained the same ankle in November in Dallas, missing two games.

Greg Stiemsma will start in Pekovic’s place.

Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter.