Wolves Notes: KAT, Gobert, Russell, Connelly, Nuggets

Karl-Anthony Towns has been sidelined since November 28 after suffering a right calf strain. As Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes, the Timberwolves‘ star big man recently expressed frustration regarding the reporting surrounding the injury.

It was never a Grade 2 [strain], it was never going to be a Grade 2, unfortunately,” Towns said on his livestream. “I prayed to God almighty that it was a Grade 2, but I knew it wasn’t. It was a Grade 3.”

Hine notes that Grade 3 strains are more severe and a recovery timeline could be more than two months. ESPN reported on November 29 that Towns would miss four-to-six weeks, but was expected to make a full recovery and return in January. Towns said that timeline was never in the cards.

I wish it was four-to-six weeks. I knew then it wasn’t going to be four to six,” Towns said. “The team was trying to say four to six. There was no way with the injury I sustained, it’s a very significant injury. I don’t know if they were trying to give false hope to the fans or what the case may be.”

Hine points out that the Wolves ruled Towns out indefinitely and never gave a definitive recovery timeline. Still, it’s understandable that he would be frustrated about an inaccurate timeline that was leaked almost immediately after taking his MRI. The 27-year-old also gave a positive (if vague) update on his recovery.

I’m getting better. Everything is going good. Going really well,” Towns said, per Hine. “Just getting better, man. It takes time. This is a very real injury. Significant, but it could’ve been way worse.”

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • Grading the team to this point is “premature and pointless,” according to Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune, who argues that the Wolves still need to see what they have with a fully healthy lineup before declaring the season — and the Rudy Gobert trade — a lost cause. Souhan says it has been a disappointing 47 games, and they clearly have some issues, but it’s too early to make broad declarations. They’ve gone 13-13 without Towns and are still in the playoff mix at 23-24, currently the West’s No. 7 seed.
  • D’Angelo Russell showed both his strengths and weaknesses in Thursday’s game against the Raptors, but ultimately came through in the clutch with several big shots in leading the Wolves to a comeback victory, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Russell has been the subject of recent trade rumors, and his high-variance play can be frustrating, so Minnesota will have a tough decision to make ahead of the deadline, Krawczynski adds.
  • President of basketball operations Tim Connelly, who was hired away from the Nuggets in the offseason, says he still wants to see his former team succeed, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post (subscriber link). “… I watch every Nuggets game, I root for them like crazy,” he said. “It’s neat that me and my family played something super small.” Minnesota visited Denver for the first time this season on Wednesday, and while Connelly enjoyed seeing his former co-workers, he also said it was “super weird.”
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