Budinger one step closer to returning to Wolves

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The Timberwolves could get a solid boost with the return of small forward Chase Budinger in the near future.

Budinger was cleared for full-contact practice beginning Thursday, the team announced Wednesday.

Budinger has missed the entire season so far after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Oct. 1. It was his second knee surgery since signing with the Wolves before the start of the 2012 season.

He has averaged 9.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 25 career games with the Wolves.

The Star Tribune expects the Wolves to be conservative with Budinger as he works his way closer to game action.

Forward/center Ronny Turiaf remains far away from a return.

“He’s not there at all yet,” head coach Rick Adelman told the Star Tribune earlier this week. “It’s just healing a lot slower than they anticipated. It’s just a slower process than the doctors thought and he thought. He’s getting better, but I think it will be a while yet.”

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