MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota Timberwolves players are supporting suspended center Loren Woods, but feel his punishment was justified.
Woods hasn't practiced with the team since learning of his suspension on Monday night and "it's up to Loren" as to when he'll return, said Kevin McHale, the Wolves' vice president of basketball operations.
The team said Woods was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, although no details have been released.
On Monday, McHale said Woods "said a couple of things and did a couple of things. He'll have to sit back and think about it, hopefully get his head right, come back and play."
Problems with Woods, the Wolves' first pick in the 2001 draft, apparently have been building this season.
"It's been pretty intense with him and some of management," teammate Kevin Garnett said.
The second-year player from Arizona hasn't been happy with his decreased role on the team. After averaging 21.9 minutes in the first 12 games, he has played a total of 35 minutes in the past 19.
Woods has said he was never told why he was benched, but coach Flip Saunders said: "He understands. He maybe doesn't want to realize it.
"Gary (Trent) beat him out. Joe (Smith) came back; Joe beat him out. Marc Jackson is playing well; he beat him out. And Rasho (Nesterovic), if he was in the Eastern Conference, he'd ben an all-star right now."
After Woods learned of his suspension, he left the coaches' office cursing, told Garnett he was suspended and left.
Garnett said Woods just wants to prove he can play in the NBA.
"At the end of the day, it's ultimately if he wants to be here, and it's just about him being more professional," he said. "Nobody doubts his basketball ability."
Woods cannot be traded by the Wolves under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement because he is playing under a one-year contract and will be a so-called "Early Bird" free agent next season.
He's subject to fines of $2,500 for the first two practices missed and $5,000 thereafter. If Woods misses any games, each could cost him 1/90th of his $662,435 salary, or $7,360.
"The team thought this was the best kind of response to the action and we as players understand it," Garnett said after practice Tuesday. "We're all (Loren's) friends. We root for Loren. We all support him. At the same time, you're responsible for your own actions."
Woods is known as an emotional player.
During his senior season at Arizona, Woods he was ejected from a game against California for trying to attack referee Charlie Range. Later, Wildcats coach Lute Olson benched Woods for a game at Oregon State after ordering him to leave practice the day before.
"You can't have outbursts and personal emotions come out to the point where they're disrespectful, and I think that's why Flip decided to take the action that he did," Garnett said.
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