Ronny Turiaf will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right hip today, the team announced (Twitter link). Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune reported the news minutes earlier. Coach/executive Flip Saunders said that the team would waive Turiaf if an intriguing player became available at some point, Zgoda notes. The 10th-year big man is on a fully guaranteed contract worth $1.5MM this year, and it expires at season’s end.
The Wolves already have 16 players on their roster, thanks to the hardship Minnesota qualified for in part because of Turiaf’s lingering hip ailment, and it’s unlikely the team would be granted another extra roster spot. Minnesota can apply for a Disabled Player Exception, but the team can only do so if Turiaf is still on the roster, and it would only be worth $750K, which wouldn’t give the Wolves much additional financial flexibility. The 16th roster spot is only temporary, as the league awards it 10 days at a time, and when the Wolves return to health, the team will have to trim down to 15 players. Minnesota could at that point elect to cut Turiaf and keep Jeff Adrien, whom it added when the league first granted the hardship exception, but it’s unknown whether that’s what Saunders intends to do.
The 31-year-old Turiaf has only seen the floor for two games this season after playing in just 31 games for Minnesota last season. He started in 10 of those appearances and averaged 4.8 points and a stout 5.6 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per contest, but he’s largely failed to give the team much return on its investment in the two-year, $3MM contract he signed in 2013.