MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Eight days after first leaving the Minnesota Timberwolves to be with his hospitalized wife, Rick Adelman met with his team on Wednesday morning.
The coach wanted to offer some words of encouragement to a reeling team that has lost four in a row and appears to be succumbing to a litany of injuries that just keeps getting bigger.
Adelman also got some words of support as well before leaving again to be by his wife's side as she deals with an undisclosed illness.
"We miss him and we know he's going through some hard stuff," point guard Ricky Rubio said. "But we are with him and we support him any time."
Adelman has missed the last five games after his wife, Mary Kay, went to the hospital to seek treatment. The intensely private Adelman has not disclosed any specifics of his wife's ailment, and there remains no timetable for his return. Mary Kay was still in the hospital on Wednesday and assistant Terry Porter planned to coach the team for a sixth straight game on Thursday night against the Clippers.
While Adelman has been away from the team, the Wolves have crumbled. They lost all four of their games on their most recent road trip, each one by double digits. For a team that prided itself on overcoming so many injuries early in the season and never getting blown out in the losses they did incur, the recent run of decisive defeats has set an ominous tone for a team that doesn't seem to be getting any healthier.
All-Star Kevin Love will miss at least the next two months with a right hand that was broken for the second time this season. Swingman Chase Budinger won't be back for at least another six weeks after injuring a knee in November, and anything from Brandon Roy this season would appear to be a bonus at this point.
Rubio also hasn't been the same dynamic player he was before tearing the ACL in his left knee last March, and a different player seems to miss practice or a game every week with an illness. Andrei Kirilenko, Alexey Shved and Lazar Hayward all were out on Wednesday, leaving the Wolves with eight players for practice.
"We're going through some tough times," guard J.J. Barea said. "We've just got to stay together, keep fighting, keep fighting. Try to steal a couple games here and there and hopefully at some point everybody comes back and we can make a run."