Rudy Gobert to miss Game 2 at Nuggets after birth of first child

Rudy Gobert #27 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dunks against the Phoenix Suns in the second quarter of game two of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Target Center on April 23, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  ((Photo by David Berding/Getty Images))

The Minnesota Timberwolves face the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals Monday night, and their best defensive player will not be available.

Rudy Gobert is out Monday night and will not be at the game due to personal reasons. Gobert and his partner celebrated the birth of their first child Monday morning, a baby boy. He told ESPN reporter Sarah Todd recently he would leave the team when the birth was imminent. Gobert was not at Timberwolves’ shootaround Monday morning, and was not available for comment.

"I would do anything I can to be there. I don’t think there’s any debate to have. Coach Finch and every guy in this locker room, that’s what I love about them, we have a level of human communication and empathy for one another that I think is really good. And I think all the guys will be literally telling me, ‘Don’t play. Go.’"

According to ESPN's Tim McMahon, Gobert's partner delivered their first child Monday morning.

According to Timberwolves' reporter Dane Moore, there was optimism within the team that Gobert could travel back to Denver in time to play in Game 2. But strong winds in the Denver area most of the day have caused flight issues. Timberwolves coach Chris Finch confirmed about 90 minutes before tip-off the team made efforts to get him back to Denver, but weather conditions made it not possible.

Gobert had six points and 13 rebounds in Saturday’s Game 1 victory. He was also a key player in the Timberwolves’ first round win over Phoenix. Gobert is a leading candidate to win the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Gobert's absence for Game 2 puts more on the shoulders of Karl-Anthony Towns, Naz Reid and Kyle Anderson defensively against Denver. The Timberwolves are looking to take a 2-0 lead in the series before heading back to Minneapolis for Game 3 Friday night at Target Center.