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.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Todd Gurley says Rams believe they can win Super Bowl

Seven players who stood out in Rams' thrilling win over 49ers

Rams WRs Sammy Watkins, Tavon Austin evaluated for concussions

Alec Ogletree throws 49ers player to the ground

WATCH: Pierre Garcon tips his toes for beautiful highlight reel catch

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Aaron Donald called for horrible roughing the passer penalty

Brilliant pass-and-catch from Goff, Watkins highlight TNF

Gordon Hayward: Isaiah Thomas had big role in recruiting me to Boston

Arkansas RB Whaley will play despite reported fight with teammate

Pockets of empty seats for Rams-49ers on Thursday

Clippers hire Bruce Bowen as TV analyst

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors in 2018

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

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 Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors in 2018

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

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