Ronny Turiaf returned to the Minnesota Timberwolves' lineup on Wednesday after missing six weeks with a bone bruise in his right knee, and he wasted very little time in making an impact, scoring five points, grabbing four rebounds and blocking two shots in 10 1/2 minutes of first-half action against the Memphis Grizzlies. After his triumphant return, the boisterous backup center earned the honor of the brief headed-into-halftime chat with FOX Sports North's Marney Gellner. It was sunshine multiplied by Schweppervescence plus a slideshow of puppies and kittens being friends.
I'm not sure precisely how to spell the noise that Turiaf made at the end of that interview — I'm going to go with "OOOHOOOHURR," but I welcome alternate suggestions. I just know that I'm going to be thinking about it for the remainder of this Thursday afternoon, and I suggest you do the same.
Turiaf continued to bring energy in the second half, and the Wolves continued to put the hammer down on a Grizzlies team that looked all but dead on its feet at the end of a weeklong five-game road trip, scoring a 102-88 home win behind Kevin Love's third career triple-double, and his second in the last four games. Following his 24-point, 16-rebound, 10-assist performance, Love understandably got the post-game interview ... but Ronny wasn't quite ready to move out of the spotlight:
Turiaf's brand of wide-smiling absurdity has long been one of the NBA's most wonderfully infectious character traits, and he clearly relished the opportunity to return to the court after a painful recovery in which Turiaf said days of rehab would be followed by "this sharp pain like someone is sticking a needle into the inside of your knee." The pain subsided enough for him to get back on the court Wednesday, although he didn't really have any idea what he'd be able to provide, according to Nate Sandell of 1500ESPN.com:
"I honestly did not care what happened today and I told the guys that," Turiaf said afterward. "I said, 'Guys, I haven't played with you in six weeks. Don't be mad at me. I'm just going to go out there and have some fun.'"
It's a formula that's worked for Turiaf throughout his eight-year NBA career, and it resulted in a very strong 11-point, seven-rebound, three-block, two-assist outing that teamed with ascendant rookie Gorgui Dieng (eight points, nine boards, a block and a steal in 25 1/2 minutes of battling the likes of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph) to give Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman a defensive-minded one-two punch in the middle with starting big man Nikola Pekovic still sidelined by injury.
It's been a frustrating year for Turiaf, with injuries limiting him to just 24 appearances, but he showed Wednesday that he's still capable of bringing energy, defensive intensity, rim protection, rebounding and — perhaps most importantly — a level of enthusiasm rarely matched among NBA players. Glad to see you again, Ronny. Stick around a while.
Top video via friend of the program @cjzero.
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