The Minnesota Timberwolves are gearing up for a pivotal cross-conference matchup against the Atlanta Hawks. One of Minnesota's prime contributors is preparing for a return after a lengthy hiatus. The Timberwolves upgraded Karl-Anthony Towns' injury report status to questionable for Friday's game, per the team's X account.

Towns is expected to play in Friday night's matchup after missing over a month from a left meniscus tear. The last time the star center suited up was March 4th against the Portland Trail Blazers. Minnesota will welcome his return in preparation for the NBA Playoffs.

The 28-year-old has averaged 22.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, and shot a blazing 42.3% on three-pointers through 60 games in 2023-24. Towns add a nearly unstoppable dynamic next to defensive menace Rudy Gobert, and he looks to find some rhythm against the Hawks.

Minnesota finds itself in an air-tight race for one of the top three seeds in the Western Conference playoff picture. The Timberwolves are 55-25 and sit in second place. The Denver Nuggets are 56-24 at first, while the Oklahoma City Thunder are 55-25 in third. Things can rapidly change depending on how each team performs in their final regular season matchups.

The Timberwolves have a chance to maintain their top seeding, which will be further propelled with a win against the Hawks.

Atlanta will enter the game at 34-44 after a nail-biting 115-114 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. The Hawks are set to compete in the Eastern Conference Play-In with a 10th-place standing. However, they would love to spoil Minnesota's plans to stay at the top of the West.

The Timberwolves need to keep tabs on Trae Young, who just returned to the lineup after missing 23 games with an ankle injury. Nevertheless, Karl-Anthony Towns and company have something big in store for Young's squad.

Karl Anthony Towns' timely injury return adds a huge lift to the Timberwolves

Minnesota has multiple weapons at its disposal. Of course, star guard Anthony Edwards leads the team's attack. He averages a career-high 26.3 points and 5.2 assists along with 5.5 rebounds through 77 games. Edwards exploded for a career-high 51 points in the T-Wolves' 130-121 victory over the Washington Wizards on April 9th.

Edwards is the clear offensive leader, but he acknowledged that the team needs Karl-Anthony Towns in the lineup to be their best. Edwards spoke about Towns' offensive impact after Minnesota's 116-107 loss to the Nuggets.

“I mean, it would be a lot easier for everyone because he's gonna get 25 points every night. Like, easy. He walks in the gym with 25 points. So it makes it a lot easier for everybody. And another big body. Another 7-footer. Another shooter,” Edwards said.

Edwards is not the only one who recognized Towns' value to the team. Fellow center Rudy Gobert spoke highly of Towns' impact on the boards.

“I think he helps a lot. [The Nuggets] really hurt us on the glass, and it’s a team effort. Even if I’m doing my best boxing out, sometimes the cutting in the back or they’re getting some of those boards that really hurt us today. And also on the free-throw line too. I think having KAT, who is a really good rebounder and has a lot of size would’ve really helped.”

Karl-Anthony Towns' return from injury will undoubtedly help the Timberwolves get closer to their goals. Can the star center help the team close the regular season strong and make a deep playoff run?