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Old 10-27-2003, 12:03 AM
stevo stevo is offline
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Default Timberwolves: Szczerbiak suffers a setback

Timberwolves: Szczerbiak suffers a setback
Kent Youngblood, Star Tribune

Published October 26, 2003 WOLF1026

Given how training camp and the preseason have gone for the injury-plagued Timberwolves, what happened Saturday at Target Center wasn't so surprising.

The team's practice was open to the public, the culmination of the Fan Jam event. It ended with two five-on-five scrimmages to 20.

Center Michael Olowokandi, who has spent the preseason recovering from knee surgery, participated in a scrimmage situation for the first time and appears ready to play in the opener Wednesday.

But, just minutes into the first scrimmage, Wally Szczerbiak limped off the floor and to the locker room. When he emerged, his sore left foot was in a walking boot, a sign of how sore his plantar fascia was.

"Oh, it hurt, it hurt," Szczerbiak said. "I can only walk with this. I haven't worn this yet."

It happened when Szczerbiak passed the ball to Olowokandi, then pushed off the foot hard to cut through the lane. He put all the stress on the foot, and he felt the pain.

"It felt like I tore something," he said. "It could be a good thing, because maybe the adhesions are breaking up. But we just have to take it day by day. I'll see how it feels [today], keep going with it, try to stay positive. But that was something that will, I think, hurt."

With the start of the season three days away, it appears Szczerbiak could still be in a recovery stage. The process has been very frustrating.

"Are you kidding me? I'm trying to get out there and play," Szczerbiak said. "I want to get out there and help the team; we have a lot of injuries and stuff. "We're about to start this really fun season."

The good news Saturday was that Olowokandi, who was cleared to participate fully in practice for the first time, ran the court well, reported only mild soreness and said he'd be ready to play some minutes Wednesday, barring an adverse reaction to Saturday's workout.

"It was fun," he said. "I haven't played with this caliber of guys in a long time. My rhythm was a little off. But I'll start practicing with the team now, and get ready."

Olowokandi appeared in good condition -- he ran the floor on breaks a few times in the short scrimmages. But his conditioning will have to improve as well.

"It's not where I would like it to be," he said. "A few times today, when Kevin [Garnett] got a rebound, I tried to blast down there. I did that three times. . . . I have to get my timing back, some of my wind back. We have [today], Monday and Tuesday."

Notes

Once Szczerbiak left, the two scrimmages matched Keith McLeod, Mark Madsen, Gary Trent, Latrell Sprewell and Ervin Johnson against Garnett, Fred Hoiberg, Olowokandi, Ndudi Ebi and Quincy Lewis. Sprewell and Trent led their team to victory twice.

McLeod, who had returned to Canton, Ohio, after being cut, was back in a Wolves uniform Saturday. He was recalled when Troy Hudson sprained his ankle. Hudson could be out more than two weeks.

McLeod was in the process of deciding where to play when he got the call. "I was planning on playing somewhere else, either a minor league or overseas," McLeod said. "But they called, so I got to come back here."

Guard Sam Cassell, who experienced back spasms at the end of Thursday's game against the Pacers, was held out of practice Saturday. He said it was not serious and he could return to practice today.

Kirk Penney, among the Wolves' final cuts Thursday, is staying in town and working out in case the Wolves' injury situation requires another personnel move.

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