MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Chase Budinger lingered after practice on Monday, taking mini-hops as he started to put up jumpers on his surgically repaired left knee.
He's nowhere close to playing in a game for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but Budinger was just happy to be around his teammates again after more than a month of rehab in isolation.
"It feels good to be back around the team," Budinger said. "It was kind of getting a little lonely down there in Florida so it feels great to be back."
The forward signed a three-year, $16 million deal in July, but re-injured the same knee that kept him out for four months last year while he was working out to prepare for this season. Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery, this time removing the damaged portion of the meniscus rather than repairing it as doctors did last year in hopes of shortening the recovery time. Budinger stayed in Florida to work closely with rehab specialists until he was ready to start doing basketball-related activities.
The Wolves are still not putting a timetable on his return to the court, but it would appear that it won't be realistic until the middle of next month at the earliest.
"I'm just taking it week by week," Budinger said. "I am progressing very well each week. But I can't really tell when I'll be back practicing or playing. Right now it's going slow. We're taking our time, getting it right, getting it strong so when I do get on the court it will be 100 percent."