MINNEAPOLIS — Karl-Anthony Towns made his return to the Timberwolves lineup Saturday, Jan. 9, after suffering a dislocated wrist two weeks earlier. But Sunday, Towns was back out. No, the all-star center didn’t re-injure the wrist in Minnesota’s 125-122 overtime loss to the Spurs.
This was the plan for Towns’ recovery, Wolves coach Ryan Saunders said prior to Sunday’s game.
“With him being out for the time period that he was out, we want to make sure we’re being smart about it for him and us in the short and long term,” Saunders said.
Saunders noted Towns “clearly” wants to be on the floor. That much was made clear when he rushed to return to action on an injury that he said was expected to keep him out for six-plus weeks. But Saunders said Towns understood that taking Sunday off was best for his recovery. Saunders said the center felt “pretty good” Sunday, only experiencing some “general soreness.”
Minnesota next plays Wednesday, giving Towns three consecutive days to rest the wrist before retaking the floor.
Asked if Towns’ will play both contests of any back-to-backs moving forward, Saunders said the plan is “fluid” right now.
“We have a couple days of rest, but also of practice time, too, coming up that we can work to get him more in game shape,” Saunders said, “but also test out that wrist.”
Rookie Anthony Edwards was driving to the rim with the Wolves down three and 10 seconds to play in overtime Saturday. He was going for the dunk to trim Minnesota’s deficit to one.
Then he heard teammates yell out, “Three! Three! Three!”
“So I was trying to find somebody for a three,” Edwards said Sunday.
But his pass was intercepted and the Spurs dribbled out the clock. Wolves veteran Ricky Rubio put his arm around Edwards after the game and explained the situation, and then took an opportunity to approach the team about it later.
Rubio explained to everyone that Minnesota had plenty of time to score two points, then foul the Spurs and see what happens from there. That was what Saunders wanted the team to do.
“It was a learning experience for us as a whole group, and with us still being a young team, it probably helps some of those second-year guys, as well,” Saunders said. “You don’t like to learn when you lose. You’d rather learn and win at the same time. Sometimes you gotta go through that process. Last night was evident of that and we talked and Ant had the right idea, too. We’ll clarify as we move forward.”
Edwards said Saunders told players they shouldn’t have been shouting out “Three!” in the end-of-game situation. Rubio said the blame certainly shouldn’t all land on Edwards’ shoulders.
“It’s on all of us. We’ve got to learn,” Rubio said. “We have his back. “He played a great, great game. Solid.”
Edwards played so well that Saunders trusted him to play at the end of a close game for the first time this season. That didn’t surprise the first-year guard.
“I’m a basketball player at the end of the day, so it’s no shock to me,” Edwards said. “I feel like they probably were going to do this, and it wasn’t no shock.”