"He always falls like that in practice and gets up," Carney said. "He walked off. I thought it was an ankle. He came back, but his knee buckled again. I knew it was something bad, but not that bad."
The Timberwolves found out just how bad on Monday, when an MRI revealed Brewer tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He will miss the rest of the season.
Brewer will undergo surgery soon, although a date had not been set. His injury leaves the struggling Timberwolves without their top defender, who had worked throughout the offseason to improve his shooting following a subpar rookie year.
"I personally feel very bad for the kid because I know how much time he put in," Minnesota vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale said before Monday night's game against Charlotte. "I know what he sacrificed to become a better player and it was really starting to come around for him."
The 22-year-old Brewer was the seventh overall pick in the 2007 draft after winning consecutive national championships at Florida. The 6-foot-9 swingman averaged only 5.8 points per game and shot 37 percent as a rookie. His numbers were up only modestly this season -- 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds on 41 percent shooting -- but McHale said he thought Brewer was getting more comfortable with the NBA game.
"You could see him slowing down some, getting more confident in his shot, just playing better," McHale said. "He always plays hard. That's one thing about Brew, you never have to worry about his effort level. All the stuff he had worked on was starting to come through. He was better at the hole, more confident in making shots."
"We'll see what happens," McHale said. "When someone who's playing a role on the team goes down people get a chance to step up."
Carney said he was unsure how much more he'll play, while lamenting the hole Brewer's injury leaves on defense.
"We've got to find another guy to put on LeBron [James] and other good players we've got to stop and bother," Carney said. "We're going to have to find somebody else to do that. Hopefully, somebody else can fill that role."
The Timberwolves became concerned with Brewer's injury Sunday, when he complained of swelling. He did not travel with the team to Charlotte, and tests Monday revealed the damage.
Coach Randy Wittman talked to Brewer on the phone before the Timberwolves' game against the Bobcats.
"He's going to be a guy who works through it," Wittman said. "It's in his blood. He's going to work. He's got to keep his head up and stay positive through this whole thing."