With four starters and six key players out with injuries, the Minnesota Timberwolves have been searching for help.
They'd like to see Josh Howard provide some as soon as Friday night.
A day after signing the former All-Star to a one-year deal, Howard is expected to be in uniform when short-handed Minnesota hosts Golden State on Friday night.
Brandon Roy (sore knee), JJ Barea (sprained foot) and Nikola Pekovic (sprained ankle) missed Wednesday's 89-87 home loss to Charlotte, joining Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Chase Budinger among the walking wounded for Minnesota.
Down to nine healthy players on the roster and with Roy, Barea and Pekovic unlikely to return Friday, the Timberwolves (5-3) made a move Thursday in signing Howard to a one-year deal. The 32-year-old, who averaged 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 43 games with Utah last season, worked out for the Wolves on Monday in Dallas.
"We need somebody at that spot,' coach Rick Adelman said. "We looked around and he seemed to be a good candidate.'
Though Howard is unlikely to play heavy minutes Friday, he could spell Andrei Kirilenko, who has played more than 42 minutes in three consecutive games as Minnesota's lone healthy starter. He finished with a season-high 26 points and 12 rebounds against Charlotte for his third consecutive double-double.
"It's been hard, but you have to give our guys credit,' Adelman said. "We talked to them today about the fact that we can win games, even though you're short-handed.'
Despite the barrage of injuries, the Wolves are staying competitive by being one of the league's top defensive teams. Minnesota, which had won four of five before falling to the visiting Bobcats, leads the Western Conference in points allowed (88.5) and opponent field goal percentage (41.4).
"Offensively, we don't have a lot of firepower,' Adelman said. "But if you defend well enough, it helps your offense.'
Defense and rebounding have also been the keys for the Warriors (4-4), who are also among the NBA leaders in opponent field goal percentage (41.9) and are 4-0 when they outrebound their opponent.
Rookie Harrison Barnes played a major role in the effort on the boards Wednesday as Golden State held a 44-29 advantage in a 92-88 victory over Atlanta.
The seventh overall pick had a breakout performance with 19 points and 13 rebounds after failing to record more than 14 points or five boards in his first seven games.
David Lee added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Golden State, which snapped a two-game skid before starting a three-game road trip that includes stops in Oklahoma City and Dallas.
"We go on a road trip with some tough stops and we're excited to have some momentum going for sure," Lee said.
The Warriors have beaten the Timberwolves in eight of the last 10 meetings, including both in Minnesota last season.
Golden State, however, learned that center Andrew Bogut, who has missed the last three games, will be out longer than expected while he continues to rehab his surgically repaired left ankle.
The team is already without guard Brandon Rush, who tore his ACL on Nov. 2.
"We're missing two of our best five players, so we're in a similar situation (as Minnesota)," coach Mark Jackson said. "But you still have to find a way to handle your business until those get back healthy."
The Associated Press News Service
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