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News » Jefferson says knee will be good to go in 2 weeks

Jefferson says knee will be good to go in 2 weeks

Jefferson says knee will be good to go in 2 weeks
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The second year of the Minnesota Timberwolves' rebuilding project nearly ended before it began.

When point guard Blake Ahearn fell into Al Jefferson's knee almost two weeks ago, the star forward collapsed to the floor after hearing a pop, never a good noise on a basketball court.

NBA offseason


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  • Arenas fined for skipping media day
  • Abdur-Rahim retires with knee woes
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  • Celtics' Miles suspended 10 games
  • Wolves' Jefferson sprains knee


  • Rosen: Answering your NBA questions
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  • Rosen: Which youth will be served?

"The biggest injury I ever had in my life was an ankle injury. So when I heard my knee pop, I just said, 'Oh Lord.' I thought it was over," Jefferson said Monday at the team's media day, his first comments about the injury. "But, knock on wood, it was just a little minor setback."

He was diagnosed with a minor sprain and plans to do conditioning work and some individual drills when training camp opens in Mankato on Tuesday. Contact drills will likely begin in another week or two.

"I'm feeling wonderful," Jefferson said. "The knee was a minor setback. It's recovering real fast."

After being acquired with four players from the Celtics for Kevin Garnett, Jefferson flourished in his first season as a go-to player. He averaged 21 points and 11.1 rebounds, one of only four players in the league to average at least 20 points and 10 boards a game.

"As the season went on, he just became more and more unstoppable," guard Rashad McCants said.

His dominating presence on the low block was the one of the few consistencies for a young team that was trying to find itself without Garnett in the middle to lead the way. The Wolves went 22-60, and Jefferson is looking for more success in Year Two.

"Being the Number One guy was something I got a chance to experience again for the first time since high school. But there's a lot of things I have to get better at, like being a leader, picking up my teammates," Jefferson said. "I averaged 21 and 11, but we won (22) games, so that really don't mean nothing. I'd rather average less points and less rebounds, but we make the playoffs. That's the Number One thing for me."

The Timberwolves are still looking for a leader to emerge in the locker room, and Jefferson's talent alone makes him an ideal candidate. But skills are only part of the equation when defining that role, and Jefferson admits he has a lot to learn in that department.

"When (his teammates) made a mistake, I'd kind of get on them," Jefferson said. "That's one thing I have to change because I made more mistakes than probably everyone on the team and no one ever said anything to me. They all tried to pick me up, so I have to return the favor."

Coach Randy Wittman watched Jefferson mature throughout the season, get confronted with double- and triple-teams and grow accustomed to being the man for the first time at basketball's highest level.

"Al had never touched the ball that many times in his basketball life," Wittman said with a wry grin. "And he liked it."

So much, he said, that Jefferson would occasionally gripe when he didn't think he was getting the ball enough, especially in the fourth quarter. Sometimes, Jefferson's teammates wouldn't run the offense through him, and would hear about it.

"The one time you might not touch the ball, you can't go off on somebody," Wittman said. "That's part of growing up."

Jefferson may have to wait a week or two to get on the court and start honing his leadership chops, but if it's up to him, it will be sooner rather than later.

"I'm pushing for it," he said when asked about participating in contract drills this week. "I've got a way of pushing these trainers, because I heal real fast. They really didn't think I was going to be walking as good as I'm walking now. I heal real fast."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: September 30, 2008


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