Pekovic leaner, more muscular this season

BY foxsports • September 13, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS – Seven pounds looked like a lot more on Nikola Pekovic.

You wouldn't think that losing so little weight off a 300-pound frame would amount to much, but the Pekovic who worked out at the Minnesota Timberwolves' practice facility Thursday boasted a dramatically altered frame. It likely appeared to be more weight than it was because of the amount of muscle the center added (remember, guys, muscle weighs more than fat), and Pekovic continued to lift the frighteningly large weights he tossed around last season.

Instead of analyzing the weight loss too much, Pekovic preferred to put it in simpler terms. When asked where the weight went, he didn't need to elaborate:

"To muscles."

In reality, Pekovic realized that recovering from May surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle might lead to weight gain, and he made a concerted effort in the procedure's aftermath to lose weight. A friend in Montenegro is a nutritionist, and the center relied on his help and increased activity to get in better shape.

Pekovic also said that his ankle feels much better. He's finished with his follow-up appointments and will not need to see a doctor unless the injury flares up again.

"I don't feel anything," he said. "All this bother I got at the end of the season, it was really bad. It was bothering me a lot. I could play like I was playing (earlier) in the season. For now, it's great. Hopefully it'll stay like this all the time."

Tolliver present: Free-agent forward Anthony Tolliver was present at Brandon Roy's Thursday workout, along with former Timberwolves player Troy Hudson, Pekovic and Chase Budinger, among others. Tolliver has been based in Minneapolis all summer and has been working out in the Timberwolves facilities despite having not yet signed a deal.

"Even though I'm a free agent, they still act like I'm a part of the team," he said of president of basketball operations David Kahn and the team's willingness to let him use the facilities.

There was a lot of they, they, they in Tolliver's speech on Thursday. These are their offseason improvements, their new guys, their upcoming season. Tolliver is still very much in limbo, and he said that he has continued conversations with the same teams with which he spoke all summer. Those clubs include Indiana, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington and of course Minnesota.

The Timberwolves are currently unable to sign Tolliver to anything more than a veteran's minimum deal, and he's likely holding out for more. He did say that "conveniently," he'd like to stay in Minnesota, but that this is above all else a business decision.

"I hope it's sooner than later," Tolliver said. "Obviously training camp's right around the corner."

And don't count on another "Decision" video mocking LeBron James' and echoing the one Tolliver made when he signed with the Timberwolves two years ago. Making another video will depend how he feels whenever he decides where to sign, Tolliver said, and he's getting a bit fed up with the lingering uncertainty.

"If it would have happened a couple weeks ago, I would still be excited about it," Tolliver said. "Now I'm kind of getting to where I'm just like, you know, I just want to get it over with and move forward."

Other nuggets from Thursday:

-- Will Conroy, Roy's former college teammate, will join the Timberwolves again in training camp this year, Roy said. Conroy was with Minnesota last December in camp but did not make the team. He did, however, tell Roy that Minnesota would be a good place for him to explore making his comeback. Obviously, Roy took that suggestion to heart.

-- Timberwolves player development coach Shawn Respert will be inducted into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame next Thursday, Sept. 20. He's the school's all-time leading scorer and one of the biggest basketball names in its history. Look for a longer story about Respert next week.

-- Tolliver on the Timberwolves chances next season: "They've done a great job. I think they have a team that can compete next year immediately, you know, as long as everybody just plays as a team. They have the time of character guys that will blend together I think very well. A lot of good, seasoned veterans and also some young guys that are veteran-type guys too, like Chase (Budinger) and guys like that."

-- Single-game tickets for the Timberwolves' 2012-13 season will go on sale at 10 a.m. Sept. 21. All games except six matchups (against the Thunder on Dec. 20 and March 29, Lakers on Feb. 1 and March 27, Heat on March 4 and Celtics on April 1) will be available. Past buyers, WolvesWire subscribers and social media followers may begin purchasing tickets in a pre-sale beginning Sept. 17.

Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter.


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