Webster out after back surgery, team finalizes roster, Johnson and Telfar take part in practice and more
Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Martell Webster had a minor surgical procedure this morning at the Tria Orthopedic Center in Bloomington to remove part of a herniated disc in his lower back, according to Wolves director of public relations Michael Cristaldi.
Cristaldi said Webster, acquired by the Timberwolves in a trade with Portland in June, will be out four to six weeks. Dr. James Schwender of the Twin Cities Spine Center performed the surgery, known as a microdisectomy, to alleviate discomfort in Webster's lower back.
Webster said he had been suffering from pain in his lower-back since the playoffs last season when he was with the Portland Trailblazers. The Timberwolves acquired Webster in the offseason via trade for the draft rights of Luke Babbitt (16th overall) and forward Ryan Gomes.
This is a blow to a Timberwolves team who was hoping Webster, a five-year NBA veteran, would provide some leadership to a roster that is among the youngest in the league.
Kurt Rambis lamented the development because Webster had done "such a great job" in preseason games coming off the bench, a job Rambis prefers for Webster because he likes the "energy and production" Webster provides at shooting guard and small forward.
"We have our team, we just move forward with the guys that we have," Rambis said. "It’s unfortunate, because [Webster] was playing so well."
That team's roster for opening night was finalized late this afternoon.
For now, they'll carry the limit of 15 players, which means the last player in is former Michigan State guard Maurice Ager.
Both Johnson (sore hamstring) and Telfair (shoulder) took part in much of Monday's practice, though Telfair saw more action than Johnson, who sat out some of the later part of the workout, which focused on higher-contact drills.
"We'll see," Wolves coach Kurt Rambis said when asked about their availability for Wednesday's regular-season opener. "You always have to wait until the following day to see how their bodies respond. They did a lot more today than yesterday."
Telfair looks closer at this point, but Johnson, the No. 4 overall pick in this year's NBA draft, said he expects to play Wednesday.