KAT returns to Timberwolves Friday, Okogie helping Daunte Wright family

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns is back Friday night against the Miami Heat. He missed the last 2 games after the 1-year anniversary of his mother's death from COVID-19.

It’s likely been an emotionally draining week for Karl-Anthony Towns on multiple fronts, but he’ll be back on the court Friday night as the Minnesota Timberwolves host the Miami Heat at Target Center.

Sunday, hours after Daunte Wright was fatally shot by police in Brooklyn Center, Towns had 27 points and 12 rebounds as the Wolves beat the Chicago Bulls 121-117. Towns’ family was at the game, with team officials dedicating a seat with a memorial to Jackie Towns.

Tuesday marked the one-year passing of Towns’ mother due to complications with COVID-19. He himself missed time with the team earlier this season after testing positive for the virus, which has taken the lives of at least six of his relatives. Towns missed Tuesday’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets, and Wednesday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, as he spent time away with his family.

Towns will be back in the lineup Friday against the Heat.

"He’s good, he’s real good. Great spirits, he says he feels good physically for the few day break. He was in here working yesterday and this morning. He’ll be ready to go," Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said after Friday’s shoot-around.

The Timberwolves say they’re a family and they do whatever they can to support each other through tough times. Whether that’s with efforts to fight racial injustice, or losing family to COVID-19.

"KAT is just such a bright soul. Despite all the things he’s going through, he still finds a way to smile through it all. I think basketball helps him, I think it’s a good distraction for him, for everything that’s going on in his life," guard Josh Okogie said. I’ll make sure it’s known, I tell him every time that I’ve got his back whether it’s on the court or off the court. I think we’re good there."


Timberwolves’ players sported "Liberty and Justice FOR ALL’ warm-up shirts ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Nets. The coaching staff did the same against the Bucks. Josh Okogie suggested the team use its platform the help the family of Daunte Wright, killed Sunday in a police shooting in Brooklyn Center.

The Wolves are signing their shirts and putting them up for auction on Bally Sports North Friday night. The proceeds will go to help Wright’s family. The Bucks, Nets and Heat are doing the same. Okogie also emerged as a team leader for social justice initiatives with the Timberwolves after the police killing of George Floyd last Memorial Day in south Minneapolis.

"We’re blessed to be able to auction off these shirts and be able to make a difference right now. There’s no amount of money that’s going to be able to replace Daunte Wright, but hopefully this small gesture could help the family who is grieving right now. My prayers stay with them," Okogie said.