Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 3/20/13
MINNEAPOLIS The Timberwolves' gym on Wednesday was a much more crowded than it's been in weeks. Months, maybe, even. Chase Budinger returned to a full practice for the first time since his Nov. 10 injury, and Kevin Love was also participating in a limited fashion, shooting and participating in drills with the team after it finished with 5-on-5. Budinger was cleared to participate in full-contact practices March 12, but thanks to a depleted roster and an unforgiving schedule, the team was not able to hold a practice between then and Wednesday. Budinger has been traveling with the team and working out on his own, and so Wednesday's practice may be enough to earn him some minutes in Thursday night's game in Sacramento if his knee cooperates. "He did fine," coach Rick Adelman said of Budinger. "I think we'll just have to see how he feels tomorrow and go from there. But he was able to move fine. I didn't see any problems with him."Budinger said he's dealt with constant soreness since ramping up his activity a week ago, but his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, told him that feeling is normal and will likely persist for the rest of the season. For his part, Budinger seemed encouraged by his first full practice and, though hesitant to commit to playing Thursday, he too left the possibility open. Whenever Budinger returns Thursday, Friday, perhaps Sunday back home against the Bulls he'll provide a boost to the team with his energy and shooting. He was sinking 3-pointers at an almost perfect percentage after practice, when he, Love, Ricky Rubio, Alexey Shved and Mickael Gelabale competed in some kind of 3-point shooting contest. Having him back on the court, in however limited a role might be necessary, will certainly help the Timberwolves' spacing, and Adelman also spoke highly of Budinger's movement off the ball and the cuts he instinctively seems to know to make. The Timberwolves have only 17 games remaining on their schedule, but Budinger hasn't been at all tempted to sit out the rest of the season. He'll be a free agent this summer, which plays into that mindset, but for a player who's never dealt with an injury with the severity of this meniscus tear, it's more than that. "I just want to be playing again," Budinger said. "This season has been very frustrating for me personally because I haven't experienced anything like this before. Just sitting out all year, it's been tough. It's been mentally draining knowing that the summer is coming up. I just want to be out there to play these final games." Before tearing the meniscus in his left knee on Nov. 10, Budinger had played in six games, starting one. Over that short time, he averaged 11.8 points per game on 48.0 percent shooting. Ricky's fine, really: Rubio insisted that he could have returned to Monday's game after leaving in the third quarter with something of a phantom injury, and on Tuesday, he confirmed that he is in no way hurt. AK's minutes limit: Andrei Kirilenko played just 16 minutes in Memphis after logging 25 in the team's Sunday win over the Hornets, and he said Wednesday that that 16-minute cap might be the maximum he's comfortable playing right now in his return from a calf strain. "It's about the time which I can play right now," Kirilenko said. "I can play more, but it's increasing the risk. I don't want to get to the point of not controlling my body." Adelman on Miami's winning streak: Adelman coached the 2007-08 Rockets team that until Monday held the mark for the second-longest winning streak in NBA history, which stood at 22 games. The Heat were tied with that team until they came back to beat Boston and push their streak to 23, but Adelman said that what LeBron and company are doing doesn't make him think any less of what his team accomplished five years ago. "They're probably going to win 30," Adelman said of the Heat. "Their schedule's pretty good. I think that the group we had that year in Houston, with the injury to Yao (Ming) and the people we were playing, that was a special event for us. Miami's really been on a roll, and they've got everybody healthy and everybody else. We had a lot of journeyman players on that team who had an unbelievable experience, and basically with the injuries that was our playoffs. That was our championship." That season, Adelman's team finished with a 55-27 record, but it lost Yao 12 games into the winning streak and for the remainder of the season, eventually losing in six games to the Jazz in the first round of the playoffs. Shane Battier, who played for Adelman's Rockets and now for this year's Heat, offered his thoughts to Yahoo! Sports on the two streaks: "We knew back then that it was one of the most improbable runs in basketball history, maybe in sports history. We were journeymen, a bunch of role players. When we were healthy, with Yao Ming and Tracy (McGrady), that team was pretty good. But we could never stay healthy, so that (streak) was our championship." Adelman said he saw the above quote and that Battier was correct. Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cubs trade for Chapman a risk, but potential payoff too hard to ignore

White Sox fan wears a fantastic taped-up Chris Sale jersey

Wisconsin kicker will wear 27 to honor Nebraska's Sam Foltz

Dennis Schroder wears disguise to play in German streetball tournament

Browns indicate they will give Josh Gordon another chance

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Prince Fielder to undergo season-ending neck surgery

Eagles want Carson Wentz to be 'starter ready' Week 1

Report: 49ers concerned Anthony Davis will quit again

Did Manning hurt NFLPA's case in HGH investigations?

Report: Steinbrenner won't allow fire sale, wants to make playoffs

Report: Dion Waiters agrees to one-year deal with Heat

Dion Waiters' deal signals the end of the 2016 money grab

Tom Jackson could leave ESPN after almost three decades

Cavs sign coach Tyronn Lue to a five-year extension

More than 10,000 people registered for Jaguars Pokemon Go night

NFL issues new concussion protocol

Angels listening to offers on Hector Santiago

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

Kevin Durant’s OKC restaurant will be closed, rebranded

Lamar Odom said to be held back by one 'toxic friend'

Mario Balotelli crashes Liverpool fans' wedding

Michael Vick: I used to feel I was 'dominating too much'

WATCH: Astros, Rangers minor leaguers get into brawl

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker