Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic has been ruled out indefinitely as he recovers from right Achilles tendon surgery he underwent last April.
Pekovic has missed eight straight games with discomfort and played in only 12 games this season after having a procedure that was viewed then as a last-ditch effort to relieve chronic pain in his right foot.
The Timberwolves view his latest issue much differently, with the pain an expected side effect that comes after returning to the court from a long absence.
If all goes well during a period of rest and strengthening, Pekovic could return to play this season.
"While we've made significant strides with Nikola since his surgery, we've come to the conclusion that to ensure he has the best opportunity for sustained success on the court, we need to continue to focus on his rehab and make that the priority," Timberwolves vice president of sports performance Arnie Kander said on Tuesday.
"We will continue to do that for the foreseeable future with the goal of him returning to the court at the appropriate time."
The Timberwolves are third from bottom in the Western Conference and it makes sense not to risk an important player like Pekovic when there's not a lot at stake down the season's final stretch.
The 30-year-old Montenegrin has been a steady center since his arrival in Minnesota back in 2010, averaging 12.9 points a night during his tenure and just south of 10 rebounds a game in his last three years.