With their best player already sidelined until next fall, the Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t need any more setbacks as they try to snap their second double-digit losing streak of the season.
Already playing without leading scorer and rebounder Jefferson, who was lost for the season when he tore the ACL in his right knee Feb. 8, the Timberwolves (18-45) suffered another blow when Foye sprained his right ankle in a 110-99 home loss to Washington on Monday night.
Foye, the team’s second-leading scorer with 16.9 points per game, was injured as he tried to catch a lob pass during a fast break. He was wearing a walking boot as he missed practice Tuesday and will be sidelined at least one game and probably more.
“If it was up to me, I would try to play tomorrow,” Foye said. “But they just told me to sit out a couple of days, 48 hours, and see how it feels.”
Minnesota had already been struggling to stay close to opponents during its 10-game losing streak, the team’s second-longest of the season next to a 13-game slide from Nov. 29-Dec. 23. The Wolves have been outscored by an average of 12.3 points in their last 10 games, also having lost 15 of their last 16.
Now they will have to find an alternate source of offense, with Ryan Gomes their leading active scorer with 12.9 points per game. Mike Miller is one candidate to help carry the team offensively, but he is averaging 8.5 points in the last four games despite starting.
“Yeah I’ve got to be a little bit more of a creator and a scorer,” Miller said. “So we’ll see what happens.”
The team’s bigger problems may actually be on the defensive end. Since Jefferson has been out, 12 of the Wolves’ 13 opponents have topped 100 points, with nine of them reaching 110.
Then again, the Grizzlies (16-46) aren’t exactly an offensive force, ranking 28th in the league with 93.6 points per game.
They’ve lost 10 of 11 after scoring 37 first-half points on 30.4 percent shooting in a 93-83 defeat at Houston on Sunday. Starting guards O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley combined for 25 points but shot just 33.3 percent (9-of-27) from the field.
“It was a lack of mental toughness on our part,” Conley said. “We let fatigue get to us. We were out of sync and that was out of character.”
The Timberwolves have won both meetings between the teams since their draft-day trade last summer, when Mayo—the No. 3 overall pick—was sent to Memphis for No. 5 pick Kevin Love and Miller as part of a six-player deal.
Miller scored two points in 28 minutes in his first appearance against his former team in Minnesota’s 94-87 win at Memphis on Jan. 6.
Mayo leads all rookies in scoring, averaging 18.9 points, but he’s had problems lately, shooting 39.2 percent and averaging 14.6 points in his last seven games.
Love has emerged since joining the starting lineup Feb. 4, averaging 12.8 points and 9.9 rebounds with nine double-doubles in 16 games.