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Brandon's health a mystery

The Minnesota Timberwolves will open their NBA pre-season this fall at the Fargodome. It means area fans will have the first chance to evaluate guard Terrell Brandon.

The Minnesota Timberwolves will open their NBA pre-season this fall at the Fargodome. It means area fans will have the first chance to evaluate guard Terrell Brandon.

Certainly, Wolves head coach Flip Saunders, in town to announce the exhibition game, will be paying close attention.

"If Terrell comes back, he'll be one of the top five or six point guards in the NBA," Saunders said. "And if he comes back, at what point will he be 100 percent?"

Brandon's left knee is perhaps the biggest question mark facing the Wolves in the off-season. He underwent arthroscopic surgery in February.

Doctors told Timberwolves officials this spring that Brandon has a 50-percent chance of either retiring or having to deal with chronic problems.

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Saunders is hoping for the other side of 50 percent: good health. The team brought Brandon in for a workout three weeks ago.

"He was running better than I thought," Saunders said. "We'll bring him in again in the middle of August."

Still, the team remains cautious. Saunders said finding a quality backup point guard is a priority. The Wolves lost Chauncy Billups to free agency two weeks ago when he signed with the Detroit Pistons.

"Can (Brandon) play 82 games?" Saunders asked. "Probably not. He's had some significant injuries."

Brandon has been injury-prone. He played in 36 games in 1998-99 and 32 last year. The 12th-year pro has not played a full 82 games since his second season in the league.

Part of the reason, Saunders said, is Brandon's size: 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds.

"It's the nature of the game, he's going to get knocked around," Saunders said. "He's active. He's a point guard who goes up against guys like Shaquille O'Neal."

The Wolves will play the Milwaukee Bucks Oct. 8 in the U.S. Bank Classic at the Fargodome. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at Ticketmaster outlets. Proceeds from courtside seats go to the YWCA of Fargo-Moorhead.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546

Fargo bound

- The story: Minnesota will open its pre-season schedule in Fargo against Milwaukee.

- When: Oct. 8

- Tickets: Go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at Ticketmaster outlets.

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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