Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic out at least three games

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The Timberwolves have used nine starters already this season, second only to the Spurs.

Minnesota will have more trouble establishing chemistry this week.

With Ricky Rubio (sprained ankle) and Thaddeus Young (mother’s death) already out, starting center Nikola Pekovic is on the mend.

Jerry Zgoda of the StarTribune:

Coach Flip Saunders said after Tuesday’s practice that Pekovic is out the rest of the week not because of that troublesome sore ankle but because of a sprained right wrist sustained in Saturday’s loss at Dallas.

Saunders said managing Pekovic’s soreness and pain in his ankle/foot is an ongoing issue, but said his absence for games against the Knicks, Spurs and Kings is due to the wrist injury.

He said Pekovic will be evaluated early next week.

Pekovic’s absence should mean a larger role for Gorgui Dieng, who stepped up with Pekovic out last season.

Four years younger than Pekovic and on his rookie-scale contract two seasons after this one, Dieng better fits Minnesota’s rebuilding timeline. It seemed Saunders, even with Kevin Love’s exit, wanted to keep the door open for the Timberwolves to contended for the for the playoffs this season. But with a 2-7 start, they probably should confront the reality of their situation sooner than later.

Pekovic is one of the league’s most logical trade candidates. If Dieng plays well in his absence, that should only increase Pekovic’s availability.