Wolves big man Nikola Pekovic will undergo surgery next week to remove damage and repair his right Achilles tendon, the team announced via Twitter. Pekovic is out of action indefinitely, and it’s not yet known if the injury is career-threatening, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune writes. Coach/executive Flip Saunders had all but ruled out Pekovic for the season last week, saying, “We’ve got to do something. We’re not just going to sit there. We tried different ways to let it heal, trying to be as proactive as we can. We have to re-evaluate what we do with him. He’s constantly seeing doctors the last three weeks. We’ll see where it takes us.”
Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- Saunders said that he and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor haven’t addressed whether or not Saunders would coach the team next season, Andy Greder of The Pioneer Press relays. “I’m gonna coach until I tell you I’m not the coach, so you can take it that way,” Saunders said. “I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done this year. It’s been a trying year from the injury standpoint, but our staff, we feel when we look at the progress of what our young players have made, that we’ve done what we set out to do when things changed over the first month of the season.” The coach/executive and Taylor reached a deal that’s open-ended in terms of length last offseason. Saunders also serves as the team’s president of basketball operations.
- The Suns‘ injury issues have led to increased playing time for rookies Archie Goodwin and T.J. Warren, giving the team a chance to see them shine, Matt Petersen of NBA.com writes. Phoenix’s president of basketball operations Lon Babby is especially happy with what he’s seen of Warren. “He’s just an amazingly efficient scorer,” Babby said. “Every game, [he shoots] 6-for-9, 5-for-7, he’s just around the basket and it seems to come easily to him. Both of those draft picks [referring to Goodwin and Warren], along with Alex Len…are all doing well and bode well for the future.”
- Gordon Hayward said Enes Kanter’s critical comments angered the Jazz and that the players took his remarks personally, Doug Robinson of The Deseret News writes. After defeating the Thunder 94-89 last week, the first time Kanter returned to Utah after his remarks, Trevor Booker said, “I definitely wanted to kick his butt. He got his stats and he got his L [loss] as always.“