Karl-Anthony Towns cleared for full contact, progressing towards return

Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on against the Charlotte Hornets in the second quarter at Target Center on January 22, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota (David Berding / Getty Images)

The Minnesota Timberwolves have four regular season games left to earn the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, and the return of Karl-Anthony Towns appears imminent.

The Timberwolves announced before Tuesday night’s game against the Washington Wizards at Target Center that Towns has been cleared for full contact, 5-on-5 basketball activities and is progressing towards his return to play. Towns has missed 16 straight games since injuring the meniscus in his left knee in early March. He had surgery to repair the injury on March 12.

Towns has already been declared out against the Wizards Tuesday. The Timberwolves head to Denver Wednesday night, then return home to end the regular season against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday and Phoenix Suns on Sunday. The team likely wants him to play in at least one regular season game before the Timberwolves start the Western Conference Playoffs.

Towns participated in the team’s shoot-around on Sunday before they beat the Lakers, and participated in a scrimmage. He was getting up shots at shoot-around on Tuesday at Mayo Clinic Square. After beating L.A., Anthony Edwards told NBA TV "KAT will be back."

Towns posted an image of Edwards with his eyes wide open and said, "Locked in" on his Instagram story on Monday.

The Timberwolves are 11-5 without Towns in the lineup. At 54-24, they are currently the No. 1 seed in the West, holding the tiebreaker over the Nuggets. They’ve already clinched a top-six seed to avoid the NBA’s Play-In Tournament, and need one more win to lock up a top-three seed. They’re looking to secure home court advantage throughout the Western Conference Playoffs.