What Arnie Kander’s Presence Means for the Wolves


There are many excuses a fans can use when explaining away his or her’s favorite team’s struggles.

One could blame it on the referees, citing that certain calls definitely should have gone the other way on numerous occasions. Another excuse could be made with the explanation that the opponent played cheap or dirty, resulting in your own team’s demise. Fans could also blame a conglomeration of other things such as the schedule, the coaching, a certain player, the location of the team, etc.

For the Minnesota Timberwolves, for at least the past five seasons, the excuse to be made by many a fan of the organization is this: injuries.

Heading into the 2012-2013 season, there was much optimism surround the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kevin Love was beginning to be looked upon as a star, former star Brandon Roy came back from injury to join the team that drafted him, Andrei Kirilenko came back from overseas and signed in Minnesota, and Ricky Rubio was due back from injury after an exciting rookie season.

Despite an encouraging 12-9 start, everything went wrong.

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Kevin Love broke his hand doing knuckle push-ups and only played in 18 games during the entire season. And then, players began dropping left and right.

Nikola Pekovic missed 20 games, Chase Budinger missed 59 games, Kirilenko missed 18 games, Rubio took forever to get back into form, and Roy didn’t really even get to play. Minnesota led the league in the 2012-2013 season with 206 inactive (team reported) games missed. Talk about a nightmarish season that originally had such high hopes.

Fast forward to this past season. Despite the departure of Kevin Love many Wolves fans assumed the team could be relatively competitive last season. Again, injuries swung its blade of death on the roster, and it quickly became a complete rebuilding season.

The Wolves topped their 2012-2013 numbers with 225 games missed during their 2015-2016 campaign, with nearly everyone getting hurt. To give a visual to how plagued the Wolves were relative to the rest of the league, check out this graph by ManGamesLost.com:

Rest at ease Wolves fans, you can make excuses when people question your motive to continue your Timberwolves fan lifestyle and use this to back it up. The Wolves’ Achilles’ heel is injuries. So how do they fix this?

Enter Arnie Kander, one of the most respected physical therapists in the game. If he can’t do it, no one can. Right?

It was reported a few days ago and covered here at DWW that Kander left the Pistons and signed to become the V.P. of Sports Performance for the Wolves. Kander had been working for the Detroit Pistons since 1992 and brings a plethora of experience to the Wolves training regime. What got me the most excited from this signing was the immense support of Kander’s work in the few quotes that were released by the Timberwolves.

From Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports:

"Arnie Kander is someone that I have the utmost respect for.  I have watched firsthand his incredible care for the players. He is so unique in his innovative ways to not only treat the injuries the players encounter on a daily basis, but also in the training and injury prevention work that is something he takes ownership of on a 24/7 basis. He will be a tremendous addition to the Timberwolves organization."

From Andy Miller of ASM Sports:

"In my opinion Arnie Kander is in a class by himself as an athletic trainer. He has been a major contributor to the physical and mental well-being of all the players he has worked with.  During our long-standing relationship I have been most impressed with his dedication and the level of care he has provided my clients."

High praise for a position within a basketball organization that traditionally doesn’t get talked about much.

The Wolves enter the 2015-16 season with injuries lingering from last season. Ricky Rubio’s ankle is still healing, and Nikola Pekovic is still trying to figure out to stay on the court. These are two important players for the Minnesota Timberwolves current and future roster, but their importance is greatly tied to their ability to stay healthy.

Along with Rubio and Pekovic, Minnesota signed a few “coach-players” that could help the team more when healthy. The Wolves also have many young, up-and-coming players that can’t exactly improve if they aren’t on the court.

Arnie Kander’s signing is massively important for this organization.  Promising season after promising season has been derailed by injuries, and it was time for the Wolves to do something about it.

And by the looks of things, Wolves fans might not have an excuse to use much longer for the team’s play.

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