Despite having an initial injury recovery timeline of four to six weeks after suffering a calf injury in late November, Karl Anthony-Towns has missed the past 51 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves. But as the old adage goes, “it’s better late than never.” After a lengthy rehab process, Towns’ return to the hardwood is imminent.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Towns will be suiting up for the Timberwolves’ Wednesday night matchup against the Atlanta Hawks. It will be the 27-year old center’s first game since exiting their November 28 meeting against the Washington Wizards, marking the end of his 113-day absence.
It remains unclear if the Timberwolves will bring Karl-Anthony Towns off the bench in an effort to manage his minutes or bring him back slowly after such a lengthy absence or whether they would start him from the get-go to resume their twin tower experiment with Rudy Gobert. There might be concerns that Towns’ rust could manifest itself in the form of a less-than-stellar defensive performance.
Even then, getting Towns back will be huge for a Timberwolves team that could really use a huge boost in scoring. Since Towns’ absence, the Timberwolves have put up an offensive rating of 114.1, good for just 20th in the league.
Moreover. Towns’ scoring punch could prove to be an essential addition with Anthony Edwards’ status for their clash against the Hawks still uncertain after the 2020 number one overall pick appeared to suffer an ankle injury during their Monday night win vs. the New York Knicks.
To top it all off, the Timberwolves find themselves right in the middle of the congested Western Conference playoff picture. At the time of writing, the Timberwolves have a 36-37 record, good for just ninth in the standings, and they will need every win so they could keep up.
Nevertheless, the Hawks won’t be pushovers; they too need every win so they could retain their hold on the eight-seed to give them at least two chances to enter the postseason via the play-in tournament.
With Towns’ return, the likes of Kyle Anderson and Naz Reid will now have more diminished roles in the Timberwolves rotation.