Associated Press For the first time in his nine-year career, Josh Howard didn’t have a team to play for when the season began. Questions about his health and some lingering memories of issues off the court kept teams away from the 32-year-old free agent. Howard never considered calling it quits, instead working out in Dallas and waiting for the phone to ring. His patience paid off when the injury-ravaged Minnesota Timberwolves came calling, offering not just money but an opportunity to contribute right away. Howard joined the Wolves officially on Friday, suiting up for the game against the Golden State Warriors. With six of Minnesota’s top seven players out with injuries, Howard, who spent last season in Utah, will be relied upon immediately to lighten forward Andrei Kirilenko’s load and give the second unit some help on both ends of the floor. “There are a bunch of fighters on this team and that’s the stuff I love. Guys who don’t quit,” Howard said. “I’m very excited for this opportunity and I’m going to give it my all.” Howard said his left knee is feeling good now. The Timberwolves are missing Nikola Pekovic (sprained left ankle), Brandon Roy (sore right knee) and JJ Barea (sprained left foot) against the Warriors. All three are hoping to return next week, but the Wolves will be without Kevin Love (broken right hand), Ricky Rubio (left knee) and Chase Budinger (left knee) for an extended period of time. Love and Rubio aren’t expected back until December, while Budinger will miss three to four months.