Three times this week Nikola Pekovic has been granted an unfamiliar yet welcome sight: Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love both in uniform and anticipating whichever direction Pekovic tries to direct the opening tip.

The on-floor reunion makes the 6-foot-11 290-pound behemoth of a man emit a boyish grin.

"It's just a great feeling to get back together" Pekovic said after practice this week. "I know it's been a while since we get together all of us. It's just good feeling."

It's everyone's favorite stat this preseason and one of the most telling regarding the Timberwolves' injury woes of a year ago: their core trio of Pekovic Love and Rubio was on the floor together a grand total of 13 minutes spread across three regular-season contests. By Saturday evening at the Target Center they'll have eclipsed that game total in less than a week.

Coach Rick Adelman made a point especially in Minnesota's first two exhibitions to keep the three of them on the floor together. In Monday's loss to CSKA Moscow they shared 24 minutes 30 seconds of court time -- the first 9 minutes of the first quarter the final 7:30 of the second quarter and the opening minutes of the second half before calling it a night.

Wednesday's road trip to Toronto followed a similar progression that amounted to 16 minutes 30 seconds for the point guard power forward and big man expected to uphold this franchise for the next few years. They took a backseat Thursday as several youngsters auditioned for their niche on the roster in Sioux Falls S.D. against Milwaukee.

Love and Rubio have been virtually inseparable in the lineup while Adelman's moved Pekovic around and allowed him to work at times alongside the Timberwolves' second unit. Versus the Bucks Pekovic played 23 minutes while Love and Rubio chalked up a shade less than 11.