Depleted Timberwolves sign Josh Howard

The injury-ravaged Minnesota Timberwolves signed forward Josh Howard on Friday in an effort to strengthen their depleted roster.

No terms were disclosed, although it is likely Howard – beginning his 10th season – received the veteran’s minimum. He will be in uniform when the Timberwolves host the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

Minnesota knew it would be without dazzling point guard Ricky Rubio (torn ACL) until Christmas. During preseason, All-Star forward Kevin Love broke his hand doing knuckle push-ups and is out until December at the earliest.

Since the start of the season, the Wolves have lost point guard J.J. Barea (mid-foot sprain), guard Brandon Roy (knee soreness), center Nikola Pekovic (ankle sprain) and forward Chase Budinger (meniscus tear).

Barea and Pekovic could return next week. Roy is day-to-day and Budinger is out at least three months.

In Wednesday’s home loss to Charlotte, the Wolves at one point had a lineup of Dante Cunningham, Lou Amundson, Malcolm Lee, Will Conroy and rookie Alexey Shved. The first four players have career averages no higher than 4.5 points, and Shved has played eight NBA games.

Howard can play both wing spots and should help in that regard. He has career averages of 14.5 points and 5.7 rebounds and averaged 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds as a reserve with Utah last season. He was an All-Star with Dallas in 2007.

“We’re pleased to add a proven veteran in Josh Howard to our team,” Wolves president David Kahn said. “Josh has been a productive player in our league for nine years and will add to our depth at the wing position.”

Conroy was waived Thursday to make room for Howard.

Despite all of the injuries, Minnesota is a surprising 5-3 and just one-half game behind first-place Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division. After hosting Golden State, the Wolves host Denver on Wednesday, then begin a four-game road trip.

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