Nobody was sure what Theo Ratliff could do. He was 34, and back problems that ultimately required surgery limited him to 44 minutes of playing time last season for the Boston Celtics. So when the Wolves acquired Ratliff in the Kevin Garnett trade, they knew they were getting a big salary that would go away next year. Anything else would be gravy. \"If he was healthy, I knew he could bring us something we've never had here,\" coach Randy Wittman said. He is healthy, so far. And, judging from the preseason, he's back to doing what he does best: hitting the boards and swatting shots. Gravy? Suddenly Ratliff looks to be a big-minutes center who also brings an ability to mentor the younger players. Guess who's not surprised? \"I just knew, with all the work I did last summer, that I'd be ready to contribute,\" Ratliff said. When Ratliff is healthy, he changes games, leading the league in blocked shots three times. He plans on working on a fourth.
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