For all you Pek fans, I found an interview Pek gave to the biggest Montenegrin newspaper, "Vijesti" a couple of days ago. In it, Pek talks about the season just completed, his injury, his thoughts on RA, and his thoughts on the Montenegrin national team.
I have extracted and translated those parts of the interview I believe CHers would be most interested in. Again, as with the translation I did for the previous Pek interview in "Blitz" , any mistakes are my own.
Nikola Peković has had an excellent season in Minnesota
“The National Team will play without me this Summer”
The Captain of the National Team of Montenegro, Nikola Peković, in his second year with Minnesota began the season on the bench with Darko Miličić holding the advantage of being in the starting five. When the Serbian international was injured, experienced coach Rick Adelman gave a chance to "Pekman."
The opportunity to show why he was, if not the best, then one of the best European players, the former member of Partizan and Panathinaikos took advantage of in the right way. From game to game he played better and better, and had he not had an uncomfortable injury, because of which he missed 19 games, his contribution would certainly have been greater.
Nevertheless, he can be proud of his outstanding statistics. In 47 games played this season, Peković averaged 13.5 pts, 7.4 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game. Of course, the satisfaction would have been greater had the Twolves made the playoffs.
“An excellent season for me, an excellent season for the team. We didn’t quite finish the way we had hoped because we had so many problems with injuries, but what’s there is there. We produced a good result and know that next year for sure we expect a really good season.” Peković said for “Vijesti”.
During the lock-out, Pekovic played for Partizan which provided a good foundation for him to show his class in the toughest league in the world.
“ Honestly, I didn’t expect this kind of season. I went over physically prepared, but once I arrived in Minnesota I didn’t really play much. That’s why I needed time to impose myself on the coach. However, as time progressed I had good communication with the coach and the rest of the coaching staff. They allowed me to play, they allowed me to show what I know and in the end it all fell into place.”
The Twolves played well up to the mid-point of the season but then occurred a series of injuries, which is one of the main reasons they failed to progress to the post-season.
“Ricky Rubio got injured – he tore his ligaments. After that I got injured, then Luke Ridnour. We really had a lot of setbacks. However, it wasn’t just with us that happened but with every team. The large number of games had its effect – we didn’t have much time to rest, so all that contributed to the injuries.”
This season, Pekovic had many problems with his ankle, because of which he has decided to undergo surgery in mid-May.
“I played the end of the season with pain-killing injections. On the 15th May I am scheduled to have an operation in New York. After that I have a rather lengthy rehab and preparations for next season.”
The operation will remove Pekman from the court which means he will not be available to [National Team Coach] Luka Pavićević for the Euro 2013 Qualifying campaign which are taking place this summer.
“I still haven’t spoken with him, but this year I won’t be able to play for the national team. Its because of an extremely uncomfortable bone injury. A part of my recovery I’ll spend in the US, while some of the time I will be here. I’m really sorry I won’t be together with my teammates. However, what’s there is there, I am sure that they will qualify for the finals without me.”
Postponing the surgery could worsen the injury which would have a serious impact on his career. Pekovic has decided, therefore to take a break from playing this summer, so that he can play with the “Reds” (nickname for the Montenegrin national team) at Euro 2012 next year.
“Every team today plays basketball and it will be tough in the qualifiers, as it was tough in previous years. However, I have an uncomfortable injury which I have had for a long time. Postponing the surgery would definitely harm my career in the future. That’s why I’ve decided on this move – so that I can play for the national team and my club next year.”
Vucevic is playing well
Although he had a strenuous season in Minnesota, Peković had time to follow the rookie season of national teammate, Philadephia’s Nikola Vucevic.
"Vučević is playing well, he's acclimatising well. His coach told me that he expects a lot from him. He has to continue working hard, particularly with his physical strength, while everything else will come in time.”
Adelman’s Style Suits Me
Peković states that it is a real pleasure to work with Coach Adelman
“He is a really experienced coach, He forces a style of play which suits me exceptionally well. He forces and likes inside play and really wants lots of plays to go through the Center. That kind of play is totally suited to me.”
Asked whether he would be wearing the uniform of the team from Minneapolis next year, Pekovic was clear:
“Yes, I will be staying in Minnesota next year.”