MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Nikola Pekovic was no longer wearing a walking boot on his injured ankle at Monday’s practice, but Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman still says he has “no clue” when his big man might return.

One thing is clear: they need him back as soon as possible.

Kevin Love was almost unstoppable Saturday night with 43 points and 19 rebounds, but that wasn’t enough to pull off a win.

“Without having Pek in there, that’s, you know … 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds),” Love said.

Without that 20 and 10, Love has been putting it on himself to pick up the slack as of late.

“It’s a lot of rebounds out there, a lot of shots that he would normally take that I have kind of have to take the onus on now,” he said. “Try to pick it up as much as I can, but it’s tough without my boy out there.”

Three times now this season, Love has scored at least 40 points. But that formula hasn’t worked. They’ve lost all three.

“Atlanta … rotated four guys on him, and they didn’t care if fouls or whatever, they just trying to wear him down. That’s probably the biggest thing, it puts a lot of weight on his shoulders to do things,” Adelman said. “And we don’t have that inside game where he can go outside and inside with Pek, so it changes the way we can play.

But point guard Ricky Rubio says the burden doesn’t rest solely of Love’s shoulders.

“It’s on everybody when [a] big guy like Pek goes out, everybody has to step up, you know. I mean, it’s not just Kevin,” Rubio said. “Everybody has to step up and do his thing.”

Love says his tender ankle was feeling good in practice Monday.


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