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News » Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-10-02

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-10-02

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-10-02Timberwolves forward Al Jefferson hurt almost all over after the first two days of training camp.

And that's a good thing.

"Everything hurts but my knee," he said with a smile.

Jefferson reported to camp in Mankato, Minn., 31 pounds lighter than a year ago, when his season ended two months prematurely after he came up clutching a torn knee ligament on a February night in New Orleans.

He reported on Sept. 28 to a team -- his team -- that he barely recognizes after new President of Basketball Operations David Kahn imploded predecessor Kevin McHale's rebuilding project with another makeover that has made the Wolves younger, faster, more athletic and possibly less dependent on Jefferson's low-post scoring.

Kahn met with Jefferson soon after he was hired on May 22 and told Jefferson he wanted to build a running team that would also utilize his unique talents in a secondary half-court game. He suggested Jefferson lost weight both to adapt to the team's new style and to take stress off his knee.

Jefferson now suggests he might be spry enough to lead those fast breaks for new coach Kurt Rambis.

"I led one last year at 293 pounds," he said. "I know I can lead one now."

Do the math: That means he weighs 262 now.

"He's looking skinny now," said teammate Corey Brewer, who sustained the same injury two months before Jefferson did last season. "He's looks like me now."

Jefferson said he believes he will be able to keep up with new teammates Jonny Flynn and Ramon Sessions pushing the ball up the court and he doesn't worry about wearing down in a long season against bigger, stronger centers. At 6-9, he's undersized, but is again expected to play most of his minutes there with Kevin Love beside him at power forward.

"I'll give up some size and weight when I defend them," he said, "but they'll also give up a lot when they defend me."

Jefferson practically glided through camp's opening three days with his new svelte body.

"He looks terrific, he really does," Rambis said. "He's energized. He's excited. I think he sees our vision. He wants to be a leader. He wants to step up and be responsible for this team."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 2, 2009


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