Just as the Minnesota Timberwolves were seemingly beginning to build steam in the Western Conference, the team was hit with a slew of bad news. After star guard Anthony Edwards entered the NBA's COVID-19 protocols over the weekend, two more T-Wolves players are set to follow suit. Both Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick Beverley are the latest Wolves players to enter COVID-19 health and safety protocols, per Shams Charania.
Minnesota's Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick Beverley have entered COVID-19 health and safety protocols, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 20, 2021
This is a big loss for the Timberwolves, who, despite a horrid start to the season, have found their footing and now sit at 15-15 and are right in the heart of the playoff race.
The loss of Edwards was significant, considering he's the team's second-leading scorer and one of their main sources of energy. Replacing his near 36 minutes per night will be a challenge, especially with Beverley no longer an option to pick up some of the slack.
This season, Beverley has averaged 8.7 points, 4.7 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game across 26.5 minutes per night as a critical part of Minnesota's rotation. He primarily serves as the backup ball-handler to D'Angelo Russell, but will not be available for the next few games at least while he is in the league's protocols.
Vanderbilt is an equally important contributor in the Timberwolves' rotation, averaging 24.8 minutes per night to go with 6.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. Both Vanderbilt and Beverley represent key defensive options for the Wolves, so their presence will be sorely missed, especially with Edwards already on the shelf.
The Timberwolves are due to play Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks, and again on Thursday on the road against the Utah Jazz.