Pekovic making his move in Minnesota 23 Jan 14

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – When the Minnesota Timberwolves signed bruising center Nikola Pekovic to a five-year, $60 million contract this summer, their biggest concern was making sure he stayed on the floor enough to earn that money.

Pekovic is widely considered one of the strongest players in the league. But his physical style resulted in long absences in his previous two seasons. Pekovic missed 20 games last year and 19 the season before that with various bumps and bruises.

President Flip Saunders brought in a new strength coach from Washington to help tailor a program to keep Pekovic healthy.

So far it’s working. Pekovic has played in all 41 games this season. He is averaging career highs in points and rebounds.