On Thursday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves lost another game, this time to the powerful Los Angeles Clippers (I’m still trying to get used to saying that). That was the Wolves’ fifth loss in a row and are continuing in their freefall out of the playoff picture.
The T-Wolves haven’t exactly been the healthiest team. Kevin Love will be out until March with a fractured hand. Ricky Rubio came back last month although he’s also been battling back spasms. Chase Budinger had knee surgery and is expected to be out until February. Malcolm Lee had season-ending knee surgery. Even Josh Howard, who was Budinger’s replacement, tore an ACL and had season-ending surgery. And we all can’t forget Brandon Roy’s knee problems.
It kept piling on in their game against the Clippers. Nikola Pekovic left the game with a bruised thigh and Alexey Shved sprained his ankle. The big Serbian will be out 7-10 days while Shved is day-to-day.
Rubio doesn’t want any excuses from this injury-riddled squad. From the Pioneer Press:
“The players that are healthy have to step up and do a better job,” Rubio said. “We can’t say we’re playing bad because of the injuries. I don’t think that’s the way. In a way, be a man. Everybody has to step up and know his new role. We are here to win games and have fun, but I don’t think we’re having fun, and we’re going to change it.”
I admire Rubio’s attitude but the players left aren’t the most talented and the multitiude of injuries have really set the team back. The Wolves were supposed to fight for a playoff spot but when half of the team misses an extended amount of time, I don’t know how they can compete. And while Ricky Rubio is one of my favorite players in the league (he’s adorable!), he’s also shooting only .222 from the field. While he’s insisted that healthy players do a better job, I would also hope that he’s including himself in the equation.
In the meantime, the Wolves are 16-20 and are 2 1/2 games out of the eighth spot. It’s easy to say that if Rubio and the rest of the healthy players step up, they might win a few games here and there. But they’re, unfortunately, not a good team with all the players out. Injuries have decimated the Wolves and that’s no fun for Ricky Rubio and the Wolves.
The Wolves draw the Rockets on Saturday.