Karl-Anthony Towns Helped Off Court, Minnesota Timberwolves Extend Skid

Karl-Anthony Towns, the starting power forward from the Minnesota Timberwolves, needed assistance off the court after he suffered a non-contact lower right leg injury against the Washington Wizards.

Karl-Anthony Towns calf injury Minnesota Timberwolves Wizards
Karl-Anthony Towns calf injury Minnesota Timberwolves Wizards
Karl-Anthony Towns from the Minnesota Timberwolves fell to the court with a right calf injury during a loss against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. (Image: AP)

Towns collapsed to the floor while running down the court in the second half against the Wizards. He immediately clutched his lower right leg. Teammates helped him off the court as he hopped on one leg.

Obviously super concerned about that,” said Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch. “Big blow for us.”

The Timberwolves indicated that Towns avoided a serious injury, like a torn Achilles tendon, and ruled him out the remainder of the game with a right calf strain.

“That video was scary,” forward Kyle Anderson told the Star Tribune. “I’m happy it’s more on the lesser side.”

Towns will undergo an MRI on Tuesday to gauge the severity of the injury and then determine how much time he will miss.

In 22 minutes of action against the Wizards, Towns scored eight points and added four assists and two rebounds. He only took six shots and missed four.

Without Towns down the stretch, the Timberwolves lost to the Wizards by 15 points in a 142-127 defeat. The Timberwolves extended their losing streak to three in a row, and now have a 10-11 record.

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Twin Cities, Twin Towers

After winning the 2022 Western Conference Play-In Tournament, the Timberwolves secured the #7 seed in the playoffs. They were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the #2-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies and Timberwolves slugged it out over six games in arguably the most exciting series in the Western Conference playoffs.

With the Timberwolves finally taking a step in the right direction, they made a blockbuster trade in the offseason to improve their defense. The Timberwolves acquired Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz. They coughed up four first-round draft picks and five players — including the #22 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft — in exchange for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

With the addition of Gobert, Towns happily moved over to power forward or the #4 position, instead of a traditional center or #5 spot. In an era of small ball, the Timberwolves inserted a pair of seven-footers into the starting lineup with Towns and Gobert.

In 21 games this season, Towns averages 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. His scoring and rebounding is down, but his assists are up. Towns struggled from 3-point range this season with a career-low 32.5% success rate from downtown. He connected on 40% or better from beyond the arc in four of his five previous seasons.

Gobert appeared in 19 games with the Timberwolves this season averaging 13.8 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. His numbers are down from his final season with the Jazz  while he adjusts to his new team.

Twenty or so games is a small sample size, but Minnesota’s version of the Twin Towers has yet to come to fruition with the team hovering around .500.

Betting the Timberwolves

If Towns is out for an extended time, Finch could start a three-guard lineup with a frontline consisting of small forward Jaden McDaniels and Gobert.

Backup forwards Kyle Anderson, Nathan Knight, and rookie Josh Minott could see an increase in playing time filling in for Towns. Minott, a second-round draft pick from Memphis, averages 4.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in limited action this season.

After slipping to 10-11 on the season, the Timberwolves occupy fourth place in the Northwest Division. They trail the first-place Denver Nuggets by 3.5 games.

If the season were to end today, the Timberwolves would qualify for the Western Conference Play-In Tournament as the #10 seed.

The Timberwolves are currently +7000 odds to win the 2022-23 NBA Championship. Their odds shrunk since the preseason, when they were as low as +3500 odds to win the title. The Timberwolves saw their futures spike across the board in the offseason after they acquired Gobert in a trade. However, they failed to live up to the preseason hype.

The Timberwolves were +140 odds to win the Northwest Division in the preseason as the second-best favorite behind the Nuggets at -140 odds. After their slow start, the Timberwolves are +750 odds to win the Northwest as the third favorite on the board behind the Nuggets (-250) and the Portland Trail Blazers (+500).

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