Anthony Edwards

Injury Notes: Brunson, Bulls, Cavaliers, KAT, Grizzlies

Knicks starting point guard Jalen Brunson will miss his second straight game on Monday with a sprained right hand, the team has announced (Twitter link).

The 6’1″ Brunson is enjoying a career season with his new club. Across 65 healthy games, he’s averaging 23.8 PPG on .489/.411/.833 shooting. The 26-year-old is also averaging 6.2 APG, 3.6 RPG and 0.9 SPG for New York.

Reserve guard Derrick Rose, who has been out of the rotation since the calendar rolled over to 2023, will also be inactive for this evening’s bout against the Rockets due to an illness, the Knicks add.

Here are some more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Bulls forward Javonte Green, who continues to recover from a January knee surgery after making a brief return to the lineup last week, will be out tonight against the Clippers, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Johnson adds that veteran Chicago guard Alex Caruso is considered questionable to play.
  • Several Cavaliers players comprise the club’s injury report ahead of the team’s game Tuesday against the Hawks, per Chris Fedor of (Twitter links). Starting center Jarrett Allen is questionable with a groin strain, while starting small forward Isaac Okoro is also questionable due to a sore knee. Swingman Danny Green and point guard Raul Neto will not play. Wing Dean Wade is doubtful to play through an illness. Isaiah Mobley, Sam Merrill and Dylan Windler are all going to be working with Cleveland’s NBAGL affiliate, the Cleveland Charge.
  • Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns will sit out tonight’s game against the Kings as he manages his right calf strain injury on the second night of a back-to-back, the team has announced (Twitter link). Two-way player Matt Ryan is out with an illness. All-Star shooting guard Anthony Edwards is questionable due to a sprained right ankle. Guard Jaylen Nowell is also questionable with a left knee tendinopathy.
  • At least five Grizzlies players will be shelved for Tuesday’s contest against the Magic, Memphis has announced (via Twitter). Beyond Brandon Clarke, who’s out for the year with a left Achilles tear, Ziaire Williams, Vince Williams, Jake LaRavia and Steven Adams are all also sidelined. All-Star point guard Ja Morant is considered doubtful to play due to a sore right thigh.

Timberwolves Notes: Reid, Edwards, Towns, Playoffs

Karl-Anthony Towns‘ return to action was a welcome sight for the Timberwolves but it created a pleasant dilemma: What to do about Naz Reid?

Though Reid moves to a backup role, he’ll continue to play steady minutes as the team embraces bigger lineups, Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes.

“We got to find a way to make the two-big lineup work,” coach Chris Finch said. “It has to be who we are in these last eight games. We have the flexibility to go a lot of different directions. But when a guy’s playing this well, he deserves to be out there in some form or fashion. It’s my job to figure it out.”

Reid, an unrestricted free agent after the season, had a team-high 23 points in 21 minutes in the Wolves’ three-point win over Golden State on Sunday night.

We have more on the Timberwolves:

  • Anthony Edwards admits he was worn out in his first game back after missing three games with an ankle injury, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets. Edwards was held to 13 points in 35 minutes. “Tired. Out of shape,” he said. “No legs. But we got the win, man, so I’m cool.”
  • Towns hit two clutch 3-pointers against the Warriors. The Wolves had three off-days before the game and that gave them more practice time to get Towns back into a rhythm, Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. “One thing is trying to work on KAT’s spacing and decision-making when he gets the ball,” Finch said prior to the team’s road trip. “We can’t have him coming in and being too much of a ball-stopper right now. We have a really good rhythm to our offense. The ball has been moving really well.”
  • The Wolves pulled within a half-game of the Warriors for the sixth spot in the West. If they can finish in the top six, it would allow them to avoid the play-in tournament. They play Sacramento on Monday night. “We knew where the standings are and we knew we had to beat them at all cost,” Towns told Hine. “We played with that kind of desperation.” Finch didn’t indicate whether Towns and Edwards would play in the second game of a back-to-back.

“Strong Optimism” Anthony Edwards Could Return Sunday

There’s “strong optimism” that guard/forward Anthony Edwards could return to the Timberwolves‘ lineup for Sunday’s game at Golden State, sources tell Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report (Twitter link).

Edwards has missed the past three games — his first absences of the season — after spraining his right ankle last week against Chicago. He sustained the injury in the first quarter when he landed awkwardly and rolled his ankle following a cross-court jump pass.

The former No. 1 overall pick had scored eight points in eight minutes in the game, which the Wolves went on to lose without him. They have gone 2-1 in the subsequent three games to currently hold a 37-37 record, making them the No. 7 seed in the West.

While the injury certainly looked bad at the time, Edwards has been listed as questionable before being ruled out in each of the past three contests, indicating the sprain wasn’t as serious as it could have been.

A first-time All-Star in 2022/23, Edwards is Minnesota’s leading scorer, averaging career highs in points (24.7), rebounds (5.9), assists (4.4) and steals (1.6) per game. He has posted .461/.371/.767 shooting splits through 71 games (36.0 minutes).

Wolves’ Towns, Edwards Could Return As Soon As Wednesday

4:38pm: Towns and Edwards are listed as questionable to play on Wednesday, the team’s PR department tweets.

9:26am: There’s optimism that major reinforcements could be coming to the Timberwolves‘ lineup as soon as Wednesday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). There’s a chance that both Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards could be back in action for that night’s contest vs. Atlanta, sources tell Charania.

As we relayed on Monday, head coach Chris Finch said that Towns’ return from a calf strain that has sidelined him since November 28 was “really, really close,” while president of basketball operations Tim Connelly classified KAT’s return as “imminent.” Charania’s reporting lines up with those statements.

As for Edwards, he has missed a couple games due to an ankle sprain that he sustained on Friday. However, he was initially listed as questionable for both of those contests before being ruled out, which was a signal that the sprain wasn’t as significant as feared. Finch said on Monday that the team was still evaluating Edwards’ “pain tolerance, range of movement, (and) stability,” noting that the 21-year-old “never thinks he’s hurt” and wants to be playing.

The 36-37 Timberwolves are right in the middle of a congested playoff race in the Western Conference. Currently the No. 8 seed, they’re only one game back of the No. 6 Warriors but also only have a one-game cushion on the No. 12 Pelicans. Obviously, getting Towns and Edwards back in their lineup would give the Wolves some additional firepower for the home stretch of the regular season.

Given that Towns has missed nearly four months of action and was still going through some growing pains alongside center Rudy Gobert in the early part of the season, it will be interesting to see how the Wolves handle his role when he returns. It’s a safe bet that Edwards will immediately return to the starting five once he’s cleared to play.

KAT Had “Major Setback” In January, But Return “Imminent”

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns has had a lengthy recovery from a Grade 3 calf strain that has kept him on the sidelines since November 28. However, he’s optimistic about being cleared to return soon, as he told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

I feel good there is a day (coming),” Towns said. “There’s a time. I’ve been in the darkness of the tunnel and trying to figure out where I’m going. It’s good to know that there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.”

According to Krawczynski, Towns said he had a “major setback” in late January, which essentially restarted the entire rehab process. The 27-year-old declined to go into detail about the setback, but he was unable to sit on the team’s bench during that time because he had to keep his leg elevated.

I was standing up for 20 minutes, and my leg was done,” he said. “That was my first time trying it. I was thinking I could do it, and there was no way.”

As Krawczynski writes, this has been Towns’ longest absence of his career, and his first time dealing with a soft tissue injury, which can be tricky in the best of times. There’s also a risk of further injury to a lower extremity, like tearing the Achilles tendon or the ACL, if an athlete returns before the calf is fully healed. Town said his calf was “95 percent torn off,” making it even more of a risk.

That was a very real possibility of happening if I went back on the court,” Towns said. “It was one of those things we were all worried about. As a competitor I was like, ‘Ah f— it, I’ll play. I can do it. I’ll figure it out.’ There was just no way with what I had that I could even attempt to do that.”

Towns told Krawczynski he wishes that he and the team had been more transparent about the injury, as fans have been understandably frustrated by how long he’s been out. However, his commitment to playing shouldn’t be questioned and he’s nearing his return, according to president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.

We’re just really proud of how he’s approached rehab, and we’re extremely excited that his return is imminent,” Connelly said.

Here are a few more injury notes on the Wolves, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune:

  • Head coach Chris Finch provided an update on Anthony Edwards, who has been unable to work out or practice after spraining his ankle on Friday. “For sure there’s some relief,” Finch said when asked about the injury not being severe. “But you know Ant. Ant always wants to play. Never thinks he’s hurt. So, hopefully it is feeling better, which he says it is. In terms of pain tolerance, range of movement, stability, all those things, I think we’re still trying to figure out where that really is with him.”
  • Finch also spoke briefly about Towns, Hine adds. “Feels really, really close,” Finch said of Towns’ potential return. “That’s all I can tell you. He’s looking good.” The Wolves have dropped five of six games and are barely clinging to a play-in spot, so the returns of Edwards and Towns could play a major factor in whether or not they’re able to make the postseason.
  • As Hine writes, backup guard Jaylen Nowell was able to return to the lineup for Monday’s game in New York. The impending free agent had been out for the previous 10 games with left knee tendinopathy, missing nearly a month of action.

Northwest Notes: Alexander-Walker, Edwards, Nuggets, Hardy

Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker was an overlooked piece in last month’s three-team blockbuster that sent D’Angelo Russell to Los Angeles and Mike Conley to Minnesota, but the former first-round pick believes he has benefited from the change of scenery he got as a result of that deal, according to Michael Grange of

“I feel blessed to be in this organization,” Alexander-Walker said on Saturday. “I know what my role is and I’m getting a chance to play through mistakes, help my team by making winning plays. The way the West is, every game matters and it’s a great chance to grow as a player and person.”

As Grange observes, Alexander-Walker hasn’t been given a chance so far in his NBA career to establish any real continuity. The fourth-year guard is already playing for his third team and his sixth head coach since entering the NBA in 2019. He’ll be eligible for restricted free agency this summer, so it’s possible he’ll be playing for yet another team and coach later this year. But the Timberwolves have been impressed with what they’ve seen from the 24-year-old so far, according to head coach Chris Finch.

“We’ve been very pleased with Nickeil. We like him a lot,” Finch said. “Offensively he’s got a versatile game that we like. Defensively he’s really grown, as you would expect. That’s where I’ve seen the most growth since his rookie year, which is natural, but he enjoys defense, he takes the challenge. He’s got really good size, he’s very smart and now he’s putting the pieces together, like understanding game plan and his opponent’s tendencies and stuff like that.

“It’s crazy when you think that Nickeil has played for six coaches in four years,” Finch continued. “So he just needs to be able to be out there. We’ll put our arms around him and keep encouraging him and I think he’s going to be a really good player in this league.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards is already out of his walking boot and is moving around more after spraining his right ankle on Friday, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The swelling in Edwards’ ankle has also gone down, Charania adds. Edwards missed Saturday’s loss to Toronto, but is expected to be evaluated on a day-to-day basis going forward, so it’s possible his absence won’t last much longer.
  • Denver has now lost five of its last six games, prompting star center Nikola Jokic to acknowledge that the Nuggets “need to be concerned” about their recent slide, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. As Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports writes, it’s not unusual for top NBA teams to let their foot off the gas late in the season, but the Nuggets will need to rediscover their mojo soon rather than counting on flipping a switch once the postseason begins.
  • Jazz players have appreciated Will Hardy‘s willingness to listen to their ideas and implement them if he finds merit in them, according to Sarah Todd of The Deseret News, who notes that Lauri Markkanen and Kelly Olynyk helped convince the first-year head coach to introduce more zone looks on defense. “I think he’s someone who you can approach and he’ll really take your suggestions into consideration,” Olynyk said. “You know, sometimes you go to a restaurant and you see a suggestion box and you never really know if those get read, but he’ll read every one of them. Gotta love it.”

Northwest Notes: Edwards, Wolves, Nuggets, Olynyk

The Timberwolves consider All-Star guard Anthony Edwards to be day-to-day with a sprained right ankle he suffered in Friday’s game, Marc Stein tweets.

In an interview with team broadcaster Alan Horton (Twitter link) coach Chris Finch said Edwards is in a walking boot, but the injury is “not as bad as initially feared.” He sat out tonight’s contest after being listed as questionable. More tests on the ankle will likely be conducted Sunday, tweets Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.

Edwards was injured in the first quarter Friday when he rolled the ankle after making a jump pass. He hadn’t missed a game before tonight and is the team’s leading scorer at 24.7 PPG. With 11 games remaining, a prolonged absence could be devastating for Minnesota’s playoff hopes. The Wolves are eighth in the tight Western Conference race, but are just one game ahead of 11th-place Utah.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Finch admitted the Timberwolves will have to adjust their offense while Edwards is sidelined, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Minnesota has a 109.6 offensive rating in its minutes with Edwards on the bench, which would rank last in the league. Rudy Gobert has been scoring more since the Wolves traded for Mike Conley, notes Krawczynski, who adds that Jaden McDaniels and Jordan McLaughlin appear ready to handle a larger role in the offense. “We still have other players who can put the ball in the bucket,” Finch said. “We’ll be less of an iso team. You lose Ant’s dynamic big-shot making. Of course, you lose everything he brings. … We’ll have to rely more on ball movement, more on body movement, pass-pass combinations, those types of things.”
  • The reeling Nuggets held a team meeting this week after Tuesday’s loss at Toronto, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Denver remains on top of the Western Conference, but is dealing with a late-season slump, dropping five of its last six games. “Who do we want to be?’” Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said. “We can’t keep losing like this, we didn’t start off like that. It’s not the time to be losing games that we’re supposed to be winning. It’s crunch time. … It was all about just who we want to be at the end of the season. ‘Do we want to be champions or we just wanna go home?’”
  • Kelly Olynyk is valuable because he does so many underappreciated things, but the Jazz have to consider who will take over that role in the future, notes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Olynyk will turn 32 in April and has just a $3MM guarantee on next season’s contract.

Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards Sustains Right Ankle Sprain

Timberwolves guard/forward Anthony Edwards was unable to put weight on his right leg after sustaining a pretty gruesome looking right ankle sprain. He was helped off the floor and headed straight back to the locker room, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and SKOR North has the video (via Twitter). The injury occurred with just over four minutes remaining in the first quarter of Minnesota’s road game at Chicago, with Edwards rolling his ankle after a cross-court jump pass.

Although Edwards was clearly in a lot of pain when the play occurred, the Wolves didn’t initially rule him out of the game. He was first listed as questionable before being downgraded to out (Twitter link).

A first-time All-Star in 2022/23, Edwards is having an excellent third season for the Wolves, averaging 25.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.5 APG and 1.6 SPG on .460/.369/.767 shooting. He has appeared in every game thus far (36.4 MPG).

Edwards potentially missing additional time beyond this game could have huge ramifications for both Minnesota and the Western Conference playoff race. The Wolves are currently 35-35, the No. 7 seed, but five teams are right on their heels in the standings — they only lead the Pelicans, the current No. 12 seed, by 1.5 games.

The former first overall pick will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer.

Wolves Notes: Winning Streak, Edwards, Alexander-Walker, Nowell

Road wins over the Clippers, Lakers and Kings have provided a confidence boost for the Timberwolves, according to a report published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“I think we have really good chemistry right now,” coach Chris Finch said. “I think we have great leadership, we have guys who really complement each other on the floor. I see it growing and growing — we just have to get some of the focus mistakes out, and then we can continue to get a little bit better.”

The Timberwolves are in contention for a top-six seed in the Western Conference, which would allow them to avoid the play-in tournament.

We have more on the Wolves:

  • Anthony Edwards had been in a shooting slump since the All-Star break, as noted by Chris Hine of the Star Tribune earlier in the trip, but has shown signs of breaking out. He had 27 points, including two pivotal baskets, and eight assists against Sacramento. “A lot of it was Anthony stepping up at the right time,” Finch said after the win over the Kings.
  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker has been nearly as pivotal as Mike Conley to the team’s recent success, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. Both players were acquired in a three-team blockbuster at last month’s deadline. Alexander-Walker, who has grabbed a spot on the second unit, supplied 16 points and five assists against Sacramento. “I had a lot of DNPs in Utah, so anytime I get multiple games with multiple minutes, for me to have an impact was everything I can ask for,” he said. He can be a restricted free agent after the season if Minnesota extends a qualifying offer.
  • Jaylen Nowell has been sidelined for the last four games with a knee ailment. He’s averaging 10.9 points and 2.0 assists entering unrestricted free agency this summer. Alexander-Walker could cut into his playing time when he returns, but Nowell is confident he’ll get offers this summer, he told Hine. “Coming in as a second-rounder, people would tell me not a lot of second guys make it to their second contract,” Nowell said. “But I always knew deep down this is meant for me. This is what I’m supposed to do. I’m going to make sure this happens.”

Doncic, Irving To Start For Team LeBron

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are not only Mavericks teammates, they’re also starting together for Team LeBron at the All-Star Game Sunday in Salt Lake City.

LeBron James selected his former Cleveland teammate Irving and Doncic, the league’s leading scorer, during the first captain’s draft conducted on the same night as the All-Star Game. Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid will start up front for Team LeBron. The reserves for LeBron’s team include Anthony Edwards, Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Tyrese Haliburton, Julius Randle, De’Aaron Fox and Jaren Jackson Jr.

Donovan Mitchell and one of the players he was traded for, Lauri Markkanen, will start for Team Giannis. Ja Morant and Jayson Tatum round out the starting lineup. Damian Lillard, Jrue Holiday, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, DeMar DeRozan, Pascal Siakam, Bam Adebayo and Domantas Sabonis will be the reserves for Team Giannis.