MINNEAPOLIS — It appears as if Friday night’s game against the Portland Trailblazers will be the first game – barring anything unforeseen – for the Wolves with a full complement of players since the acquisition of Robert Covington and Dario Šarić earlier this week.
Derrick Rose practice with the team on Thursday after missing Wednesday night’s knee with knee soreness, but according to him it’s nothing serious. Rose actually mentioned that missing a game here or there is more of a proactive measure to ensure long-term health than it is fully being unable to play.
It’s certainly good to see Rose take this step
“Like I’ve said, I’ve got to pay attention to my body,” Rose said. “Thibs always gives me a chance to talk to him open and tell him what the problem is. We’re able to fix it here. My knee feels good, it was sore yesterday, it just didn’t feel right.”
There may be more times this season where Rose has to take a night off because he cannot recover at the rate he used to be able to. That naturally happens as players age, and that’s more so true with a player that has taken the physical toll that Rose has.
“Just being proactive, my style of play, the way I’ve been playing. Of course, I want to be out there, I’m in a great rhythm right now, but I have to be smart and listen to my body and understand I’m getting a little bit older, so I just have to pay attention to it.”
Thursday marked the first time that both Šarić and Covington were able to practice with the team. That probably feels odd considering Covington played 41 minutes in Wednesday night’s win over New Orleans, but prior to that game the pair only had a single shootaround under their belts.
With Rose likely back on Friday night, the rotation will have to be tightened once again. It’s clear that both Šarić and Covington are going to be playing, as they should be.
In Wednesday’s game the odd man out was Anthony Tolliver as he was stuck the bench with the addition of the new guys. When Rose is back in the lineup on Friday – presuming there are no injuries that pop up between now and then – it’s likely that someone else joins Tolliver on the pine for the game.
It will be interesting to see whether that’s rookie Josh Okogie or Tyus Jones.
With Rose’s positional flexibility it could cut into Okogie’s minutes, but the move that would make more sense would be for Jones to see his minutes vanish. Jones was only on the floor for 11 minutes on Wednesday night, and with Rose back there may be no room for him with a full roster available.
Another area they could steal minutes for Okogie is by not allowing Covington to play 41 minutes on a consistent basis. That’s a number that should be closer to 35, with Okogie still being able to be in the 15-20-minute range.
Friday night will be the first night that the Wolves wear the “Purple Reign” uniforms that were designed to honor the late legendary musician and Minnesota-native Prince.
Both Rose and Thibodeau seemed excited when the uniforms were brought up at practice on Thursday.
“For me to be a part of this franchise when we have a Prince themed jersey, that’s something that you dream about as a kid. I’m a huge Prince fan, my family is too, my older friends are too, and I had the blessing of actually seeing him in concert before he passed in Chicago. It’s all coming full circle, honored to be here.”
There seemed to be a much lighter mood around the team on Wednesday and Thursday. It helps that the team has won each of the two games played since the trade occurred.
Morale is so high right now that there was actually music playing inside the practice facility while Rose was getting shots up following the team’s workout.
“[Morale] is good. Guys are laughing at practice. You see Thibs letting me play music right now?” Rose said. “Yeah, yeah, yeah! We’re moving up right now. Getting out of the militant ways here and just trying to figure things out. It’s 2018, it’s KAT’s birthday. KAT wanted music, so we’re going to play music.
No gifts for KAT
Karl-Anthony Towns celebrated his 23rd birthday on Thursday, but the music was the only gift that Rose was willing to give him.
“No, come on now,” Rose said if he got Towns a gift. “He signed for 190 [million]. He should be getting all of us something.”