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Pekovic Ruled Out Indefinitely by Timberwolves
Tuesday, Feb. 23
"Our main concern is for the health of Nikola," general manager Milt Newton said in the team's press release announcing Pekovic would be out indefinitely. "Our priority is getting him back on the court, playing at a consistent level for a sustained period of time. After much consulting with Nikola, our medical staff and some of the leading doctors in the field, we believe this is a necessary step in that process."
Pekovic missed the remainder of the 2014-15 season after having the surgery in April before missing the first 35 games of the 2015-16 campaign. In 12 appearances (three starts) since his return, he was averaging just 4.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 13.0 minutes per game.
He was clearly still struggling with the injury, however, prompting the team to make this decision.
"A typical recovery from an Achilles surgery is 9-15 months," vice president of sports performance Arnie Kander noted. "While we've made significant strides with Nikola since his surgery, we've come to the conclusion that to ensure he has the best opportunity for sustained success on the court, we need to continue to focus on his rehab and make that the priority."
The loss is a significant one for the Timberwolves, as Pekovic was expected to be a consistent producer on the block alongside promising rookie Karl-Anthony Towns, Gorgui Dieng, Nemanja Bjelica and veteran leader Kevin Garnett.
Pekovic, 30, looked like a building block for the Timberwolves in the 2012-13 season, when he averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in 62 contests. He's had trouble staying on the court since then, however, as Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press noted:
Since signing 5-year/$60M contract in 2013, Pekovic has played in 97 of a possible 221 games.— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) February 23, 2016
With Towns clearly entrenched as the center of the future in Minnesota and Dieng and Bjelica giving the team solid minutes on the block, Pekovic's future with the team going forward is murky. He'd certainly be a nice depth piece for the team once healthy, though he'll be a bench option with a cap hit of $12.1 million next season and $11.6 million in 2017-18, per Spotrac.com.
That may make him a trade chip this offseason for the Timberwolves if they can find any bidders for a 30-year-old with an injury history.
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