MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Timberwolves will have a tough time not making the NBA Playoffs, but that’s becoming beside the point.

They want to get their mojo back. Four games to go, two against a Denver team clawing to oust them for one of those final playoff spots. WCCO’s Mike Max tells us there was at least a sign of a boost at Tuesday’s practice.

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It was the epitome of the last couple weeks. Utah dismantles the Timberwolves. The coach tries to get them back on course.

“You know it’s been a long, hard fight. We get several teams that are fighting it out. This time of the year, this is what it’s about,” Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said.

But maybe reinforcements, or a reinforcement, isn’t far away. Jimmy Butler practiced again on Tuesday, and at least proclaims himself close to being back to playing.

If a half-court shot during practice is any indication, Jimmy Butler is feeling better. But how soon can he return?

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“I’m this close to returning to the floor and playing the game that I love. Being out there with the soldiers that go through it every day in practice, every day in a game. That’s what I miss more than anything is just being out there competing with those guys,” Butler said.

What he’s noticed while watching is that this team is not where it needs to be, hardly camouflaging his disappointment in effort.

“Everybody is playing for the fight of their life. We’ve got to realize that as a whole we’ve got to go out there and just be the tougher team every single night, every single possession,” Butler said.

Jeff Teague practiced some with his injured knee. No word on if he will play this week.

But the head coach is more concerned who he does have healthy, and what they can do with what he has.

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“Everyone is nicked up this time of the year. You play a season and everyone is dealing with something so that’s all part of it,” Thibodeau said.

Mike Max