It wasn’t going to be easy for Ronny Turiaff to get minutes this season in Minnesota anyway. Nikola Pekovic was starting and the team rightfully is high on Gorgui Dieng behind him. Turiaf was in the third slot. But with Pekovic out much of the season (and likely not back until after the first of the year) there were minutes to be had.
But Turiaff couldn’t get healthy enough to take advantage. He’s battled a hip issue all season, only 19 minutes total from two games, and now he has undergone surgery to correct the hip problem, the team announced Tuesday.
Look for the Timberwolves to cut Turiaf loose at some point so they can free up a roster spot, reports Jerry Zgoda at the Star Tribune.
Turiaf’s contract — with a $1.6 million salary — expires after this season. (Timberwolves GM) Flip Saunders said this morning the team would waive Turiaf and pay him his remaining owed money “if there’s the right person available.”
That could be just keeping around forward Jeff Adrien, whose current 10-day roster exception spot runs through Friday. Or it could be a guard such as D League sharpshooter Brady Heslip, who was with the Wolves in training camp.
This saddens me as Turiaf is one of my personal favorite players around the league. You have to love the guys that just hustle and look like they are having a good time on the court. After needing heart surgery before he could play a minute after being drafted by the Lakers, it gave him a great perspective on just how fortunate he was that some players like. Not sure if we’ll see him playing in the league again, but it was fun to watch him.