DENVER – Karl-Anthony Towns said he was in a lot of pain when he hobbled off the floor Saturday night because of a right knee injury. But in the back of Towns’ mind, he said he had confidence that the injury wasn’t serious and he was relieved after he got “good news” from an MRI the next day that showed no serious damage.
“I got the news that I wanted to hear. Blessed,” Towns said before shootaround Tuesday at the Pepsi Center. “Regardless of what happened, I wasn’t worried. I was in a great mood and everything because I knew that the man above had me. That’s how I feel and that’s how I think, so I never get worried or get fazed by any of these events or instances.”
The All-Star center was upgraded to probable on Tuesday afternoon’s injury report and was in the starting lineup in Denver that night, playing 32 minutes and leading the Wolves with 34 points and 10 rebounds in a 133-107 loss to the Nuggets. Five of his teammates — Andrew Wiggins, Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague, Robert Covington and Luol Deng — remained out because of various ailments.
Both Towns and interim coach Ryan Saunders bristled at the suggestion that the team might shut down Towns and Wiggins for the season because of their injury concerns and the Wolves’ long odds to make the playoffs.
“No. We’re a competitive basketball team and in this league, there’s so many things that can happen, so no,” Saunders said when asked if that was a possibility.
Added Towns: “I can’t do that. I got too much pride in playing, being on the court with my guys, than worry about me getting a little hurt this year. I was much more hurt last year, so I’m not too worried about that. I played through a lot. This ain’t nothing.”
Towns also has a financial incentive to keep playing. If he earns All-NBA honors, his maximum contract will increase from around $158 million to approximately $190 million. That’s something Towns recently said wasn’t a big concern for him.
But if the Wolves try to shut him down, they risk angering Towns if he does care about making the All-NBA team and getting the larger contract. But Towns wants to be on the floor and Saunders and the organization want him there.
More on injury report
Towns had company on the Wolves’ injury report Tuesday. Wiggins was still there, as were Deng (left Achilles) and Covington (right knee bone bruise), but Rose and Teague also missed the game.
Rose was listed with right elbow soreness. This came after he played only eight minutes in Sunday’s victory over the Knicks. Rose had stretched his minutes limit to play 30 in Saturday’s win over the Wizards.
Teague was also back on the injury report because of left foot inflammation. It was a left foot injury that caused Teague to miss eight games in January and February. It has been a rough year for Teague, who sat out 25 games because of injuries before Tuesday.
“You have to feel for a guy like Jeff,” Saunders said. “He’s put together some nice games for us too, especially as of late. He’s really catapulted us to a couple quality wins. You always miss a guy like that.”
Getting out of Dodge
The Wolves were set to stay in Denver overnight, but moved up their scheduled flight itinerary in the morning in order to escape a snowstorm scheduled to hit Denver. They play in Utah on Thursday.