Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported via Twitter that the injury required surgery, and that Budinger will not be back on the court any time soon.
After knee surgery today, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger will miss three months, league source tells Y! Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) November 13, 2012
Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are already out with injuries as well, and Brandon Roy’s health will remain an issue throughout the season. With so many talented players in the training room instead of on the court, the Timberwolves will need to find production from unlikely sources.
Here are the players who must step up while Budinger is out.
With Budinger and Kirilenko, the Timberwolves had an excellent balance at small forward.
Kirilenko is lanky player who is excellent defensively. He is also a veteran with 10 years of experience and is a fantastic rebounder.
Budinger is young and energetic, making his primary contribution on offense. He is an explosive athlete and a streaky shooter who can put up points in bunches.
Now, Kirilenko will have to play longer minutes and contribute more on offense without letting his play at the other end of the court slip. This will be a difficult challenge, but the team must not let production at the 3-spot slip if it hopes to keep winning.
With Love, Rubio and Budinger all out, it is difficult to see where the points are going to come from until the Timberwolves get some of these players back.
Among the active players, Williams is the most talented scorer. However, he is averaging just 8.6 points in 22.1 minutes per game.
Williams can play either forward spot, and given the team’s lack of depth right now, he will likely have to do so. He must be more aggressive offensively and play up to his potential during this period.
If the former No. 2 overall pick can show off the scoring abilities he displayed in college, Minnesota just may make it through this stretch.
Which player does Minnesota need to step up the most?
Budinger provided points off the bench for the Timberwolves, and now the team will look to someone else to fill that roll.
The speedy point guard is a capable scorer. He must push the tempo when he is on the court and get to the basket.
Barea must increase his 9.3 points per game output, as this will no longer be adequate production without Budinger contributing 11.8 points per game.
Without Barea picking up the slack in the second unit, Minnesota is in serious danger of sliding due to all of the injuries their players have suffered.