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dirno2000
11-20-2003, 05:29 PM
Olowokandi's knees raise concern
BY MIKE WELLS
Pioneer Press

Glen Taylor hasn't pulled out a $16 million hammer and hit the panic button over center Michael Olowokandi's knee problems. Not yet, anyway.

The Timberwolves' owner is worried about Olowokandi's injuries, which have been a factor in his lack of production since he signed a three-year, $16.2 million deal to be the starting center this season.

The No. 1 overall pick in 1998 NBA draft has done little this season. Injuries to both knees have him spending an increasing amount of time on the bench, causing his game to suffer on both ends of the court. The Wolves hope this isn't a carry over from last season, when Olowokandi played only 36 games with the Los Angeles Clippers because of a knee injury.

"It concerns us because obviously certain players' bodies are more injured than others," Taylor said. "We were under the opinion that this was something that was correctable and fixable, and it was probably taken care of when he came here."

Olowokandi has left many wondering what is happening when they look at the box scores and see the 7-foot starting center has had four games with one or no rebounds.

"No question that bothers me," general manager Kevin McHale said. "You have to be assertive. I know his knee is hurting him, but that's no excuse not to have one rebound. He's coming along late, but I told him he needs to go out and concentrate on defense and rebounding, and get himself going by doing the little things."

Olowokandi was signed as a replacement for Rasho Nesterovic, who left the Wolves this summer and signed with San Antonio as a free agent. The job description: clog the lane on defense and help Kevin Garnett pull down rebounds. But the numbers show Olowokandi's limited impact; he is averaging only 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

He has shown signs of his potential, but it is the games in which he has had little bearing that bother the Wolves. Sitting out appears to be out of the question, because the Wolves don't believe that will help. When asked if he should take time off, Olowokandi said, "I'm not the only one involved in that decision."

The Wolves thought they were getting a healthy player when they hopped on a plane to California to sign him in July. Olowokandi was on pace to be ready for training camp when he had a second arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in September. He missed all of the exhibition season, and now his right knee is bothering him.

"That was what was wrong with him in L.A.," said Denver point guard Andre Miller, a teammate of Olowokandi with the Clippers last season. "He missed a lot of games because of injuries. That's not good with Minnesota because he's having to deal with a new team."

"It's frustrating, but I have to keep everything in perspective," Olowokandi said. "I was hurt, and I just came from surgery. For me personally, I would have loved to rehab and been strong and close to 100 percent before the season started. I can't keep beating myself on the head or being too frustrated about the situation."

Olowokandi has played through pain, something rare in the NBA, to help the Wolves while they continue to get a grip on their new lineup.

"It takes a certain amount of time to come back, especially from knee surgery," he said. "I think that's what I'm going through right now. The only difference is that I'm going through that while in uniform, whereas some other people may not be in uniform."

At this point, Saunders doesn't want Olowokandi worrying about minutes; he just wants him to give the Wolves stretches of solid play getting rebounds and playing good defense. Olowokandi had six points, three rebounds, a block and an assist in 16 minutes against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.

"What I'm looking for is productivity on the floor," Saunders said. "I think what we can do instead of him pacing himself, you stay on while you're productive, and then we get you out for some rest. Eventually, his productivity will go longer and longer.

"He's going through the process of getting stronger. He's going to be fine."

Said Olowokandi: "There will be a turnaround when the knee feels healthy, and hopefully all that talk will go in the wastebasket."

Nash13
11-20-2003, 05:46 PM
This is some Bull.

They already knew Kandi had injury problems before they signed him. They are creating their own problems.

And they wonder why they haven't made it out the first round.

sike
11-20-2003, 06:12 PM
its funny though.....all the moves they have made and they still have not shown much improvment

MavsFanatik33
11-20-2003, 06:29 PM
Originally posted by: sike
its funny though.....all the moves they have made and they still have not shown much improvment

Along with the rest of last year's playoff teams...