MINNEAPOLIS - It appears to be sooner rather than later for Karl-Anthony Towns to make his return to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Wolves are in Dallas to face the Mavericks Monday night, and on Sunday, the team upgraded Towns from "out" to "doubtful." Back on Jan. 15, the Wolves had their game against the Memphis Grizzlies postponed due to COVID-19 issues. They didn’t have the minimum required by the NBA of eight players available to play.
At that time, Juancho Hernangomez and Ricky Rubio were in the COVID-19 protocol, and that night, Towns announced on social media he had tested positive for COVID-19 was heading into isolation. It’s been a trying year for Towns, who has lost at least a half dozen family members, including his mother, to complications from COVID-19. He also revealed recently on social media he was in an accident with a drunk driver last summer while in Los Angeles.
Towns has played in just four games this season. He first injured his left wrist in the second game of the year as the Wolves got off to a 2-0 start. He then missed six straight games before playing in losses to the Spurs and Grizzlies. Towns has missed 12 straight games, but Sunday’s designation provides a light at the end of the tunnel for their star and the team.
Towns is with the team on their current road trip and has been following COVID-19 protocols, but that suggests his return could be soon. Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said Monday morning it comes down to his conditioning. Team officials haven’t said if Towns has had any symptoms after his positive test.
"He’s really been able to push himself. Our medical group has been able to simulate certain stints during a game, stopping and going, what that might feel like with his lungs," Saunders said. "It’s really just how his lungs can handle certain durations of work and high intensity work. Nothing can simulate a game environment like a game."
In the four games he’s played this season, Towns is averaging 22 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Since D’Angelo Russell arrived to Minnesota the two have been on the court together just six times. The Wolves are dead last in the Western Conference at 6-15.