UPDATE, 6:30 pm: Wolves say Teague is available to play tonight and will start alongside normal starters Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, Taj Gibson and Karl-Anthony Towns.) END UPDATE
Timberwolves starting point guard Jeff Teague participated in shootaround this morning at Target Center and said his return tonight after seven games away injured will depend how his left knee feels in warmups.
"I feel all right," he said. "I can pretty much do everything. I just have a big brace on. It absolutey (stinks), but it's something you have to do."
He said he doesn't know how long he'll have to wear that bulky brace.
"It's just really heavy," Teague said. "It's just not comfortable at all."
If he returns tonight, it will be against Russell Westbrook and an Oklahoma City team still stinging from last night's home loss to a Portland team that played without star point Damian Lillard.
Teague missed four games in November because of an Achilles/heel injury, started and played 34 minutes his first game back, coincidentally also against Oklahoma City on Dec. 1.
Teague had a similar Grade 1 sprain of his knee MCL before Atlanta selected him in the 2009 draft, but that was another time and place.
"This is a lot different," Teague said. "I have never missed as many games in a row. It's an injury I'm not used to. It happened nine years ago, so I'm just trying to get comfortable again, really."
You'll see soon whether Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau modifies his rotation and his point guard minutes to increase Tyus Jones' playing time once Teague returns.
Jones has played well both times as Teague's replacement as starter and you could argue the ball moves more freely and the offense hums even better when he's in command.
Asked if he expects Teague to play the same kind of minutes he did the last time he returned from injury, Thibodeau said, "We’ll just see where he is. He has done a good job with his conditioning. He has done quite a bit. We’ll see how it unfolds."
Jones is ranked the top point guard in the league in defensive real plus-minus rating, an analytics stat defined as a player's average impact on his team's defensive performance by the points allowed per 100 offensive possessions.
When asked about that fact after Wednesday's shoot, Thibodeau in return asked the inquiring reporter to define it and then continued into an exchange where he indicated he values his own eyes over crunch numbers.
"I haven't seen an accurate defensive rating system yet," said Thibodeau, who noted that, for example, using steals to judge defensive effectiveness often is misleading. "I thought maybe you were onto something."