Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 11/12/12
With 2:46 remaining in the third quarter of Monday's game in Dallas, Nikola Pekovic left the court with a sprained left ankle. He is out for the night. Pekovic sustained the injury while running down the court, and it appears as if he stepped on Vince Carter's foot to trigger the fall. Before leaving the game, he had 20 points and six rebounds. Greg Stiemsma entered the game in Pekovic's place. Before Monday's game, he as averaging 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 14.7 minutes per game. The center's injury marks the Timberwolves' sixth, and the only starter currently healthy is 31-year-old small forward Andrei Kirilenko. Ricky Rubio will be out until December, most likely, with a torn ACL he suffered last March, and Kevin Love's return date from his broken right hand will likely be early next month, as well. Brandon Roy is out with a sore right knee, and now there's this sprained ankle for Pekovic. The reserves are depleted, too: J.J. Barea is out with a sprained foot, and to make matters worse, small forward Chase Budinger, one of the team's leading scorers early this season, suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee on Saturday. He'll have surgery later this week, and typical recovery times lie in the two month range. There's been no update on a time frame for Pekovic yet, but if the ankle isn't too severely sprained, it may mean missing just a short amount of time. The Timberwolves play Charlotte on Wednesday and Golden State Friday, and after that they have a four-day break before facing Denver on Nov. 21. But if Pekovic is out long-term, the Timberwolves will be in for a rude awakening. He's been the most consistent part of their offense and their most solid player early, and to lose him for more than a few games would be devastating. In better news, both Roy and Barea seem poised to return this week, and they'll be important for depth at the guard spots. Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter.
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