Wittman is expected to return to the bench for tonight’s game at Washington after missing three games. He said he’s feeling much better after having back surgery Wednesday to repair a ruptured disk that was pinching a nerve.
Having time away from the team gave him a different perspective.
"I told our guys, I’ve got bigger belief in them now than I did before I left," he said, after watching his players almost overcome a big deficit at Atlanta before defeating Phoenix.
Wittman said he plans to stick with the group that led the Atlanta comeback and started the Phoenix game, with Al Jefferson at center, Craig Smith and Corey Brewer at forward and Sebastian Telfair and Marko Jaric at guard.
Also from Youngblood:
Tonight’s game in Washington also starts a stretch in which the Wolves will play four out of five games on the road. The team is still banged up. Veterans Greg Buckner (calf), Theo Ratliff (knee) and Antoine Walker (ankle) are still hurting, with Walker the closest to returning.
Guard Randy Foye had his knee re-examined Monday, but the results won’t be available until today. Still, he made the trip to Washington with the team Monday afternoon.
"I don’t care what their record is," explained Wizards guard Antonio Daniels, who finished with 10 points, 5 assists and 4 steals in Sunday’s 104-89 home win over New Jersey. "They played us tough up there in Minnesota and they just beat the hottest team in the league in Phoenix, so they’re obviously dangerous. I watched that game. They have a lot of young, talented guys who are trying to prove themselves in this league and I expect them to come out with energy against us. We have to play well."
Previews of the game at Washington:
But in all fairness, for the young Timberwolves, it’s difficult not to get excited about the odds-on favorite for the league’s Most Improved Player, Al Jefferson — the cornerstone in the controversial Kevin Garnett trade. Jefferson erupted with 32 points and 20 rebounds against Amare Stoudemire and the Suns, who were outrebounded by 22.
Minnesota is largely a one-man team, with power forward Al Jefferson at the helm. With 32 points and 20 rebounds, he led them to a 100–93 win over Phoenix Saturday in what might be the season’s biggest upset. Minnesota is on pace for 16 wins, a number that could decline if Jefferson is injured, or increase if some of the other young players on the T-Wolves’ roster start to play well.
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