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Pekovic hopes to return soon

The Sports Xchange

--Injured starting C Nikola Pekovic ran on his hurting ankles -- his first court work in more than a week -- before Sunday's game in Portland. However, he did not play.

He has missed eight of the past nine games because of painful bone spurs on his right ankle.

Pekovic said he's hopeful he can play Monday at Sacramento, but coach Rick Adelman didn't sound quite so optimistic about that.

"The training staff felt they were better off having him here, watching him and see how he progresses rather than just have him sitting at home," Adelman said. "Everybody's hoping he'll play (Monday). I guess I'm taking the pessimistic view because that's just sort of the way it has gone this season."

--The Wolves faced Portland's Jamal Crawford for the first time since they nearly acquired the shooting guard at last month's trade deadline.

The three-way deal that would have sent Michael Beasley to the Los Angeles Lakers, a first-round pick from L.A. to Portland and Crawford to Minnesota collapsed when the Wolves refused to take back Derek Fisher's $3.4 million contract option for next season.

"Honestly, I think it was pretty close," Crawford said before Sunday's game. "I thought something might happen. It was just out there too much."

Crawford scored 12 points off the bench in the Blazers' victory Sunday night.

"We still believe we can win, but it's tough when we have guys out like that. We've got to win just about every game, or a large majority of our games. It's still there for us, but we need a tremendous amount of luck on our side as well." -- F Kevin Love, on an injury-ravaged team that now has lost five of seven games and has fallen 3 1/2 games off the pace for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

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