Towns hadn’t played since December 13th, mainly due to a knee injury. He was cleared to play earlier in the week but then contracted an illness which delayed his return.
The Timberwolves have reportedly been seeking another impact player to pair up with Towns, particularly Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell. Minnesota made a hard push for Russell during free agency but the Wolves’ recruiting efforts fell short when the Warriors offered him a four-year, maximum-salary contract after losing Kevin Durant.
The front office created more roster flexibility by making a two-for-one swap with the Hawks earlier this week, dealing point guard Jeff Teague and swingman Treveon Graham in exchange for wing Allen Crabbe.
The Timberwolves entered Friday’s action in the 13th spot in the West but aren’t completely out of the playoff hunt. They’re 3.5 games behind the Grizzlies, who currently hold the final playoff berth.
A healthy Towns certainly improves their prospects, as would a blockbuster deal. There was speculation when Towns was sitting out that Minnesota might entertain trade offers for him and the Knicks and Warriors were reportedly monitoring his situation. However, a subsequent report insisted that the Timberwolves have no interest in dealing their franchise player.