Pekovic good to go for Lakers, Barea out

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Nikola Pekovic says he is ready to return to the Minnesota Timberwolves starting lineup, and not a moment too soon.

The burly center has missed the past two games with a sore right foot. The Timberwolves will need his size and strength on Friday night when they host the Los Angeles Lakers.

Pekovic practiced on Thursday and says the foot feels good enough to play. He'll test it again in pregame warmups on Friday, but expects to play.

Guard J.J. Barea is not expected to play because of a sprained left ankle. Barea was hurt in the fourth quarter on Wednesday against Portland. It's been a painful first season in Minnesota for Barea. He's also missed time with a strained hamstring and calf.