The Timberwolves have some clarity on the wrist injury plaguing center Karl-Anthony Towns — and Towns will be out at least two weeks as he undergoes treatment for a fractured wrist.
After consulting with multiple specialists, Towns will undergo treatment for the injury, which was affecting him before he missed the Wolves’ final game before the All-Star break against Charlotte.
But he had an initial MRI before that game and consulted with doctors more this week after returning from the break. Coach Ryan Saunders said Towns initially hurt the wrist in a game against Oklahoma City on Jan. 25. After that game, the Wolves said Towns had an X-ray that came back negative. He attempted to play through the injury, but the pain increased.
“He felt good, good enough to play through any type of pain,” Saunders said. “At that point in the season, everybody is going to be playing with some sort of pain.”
Towns took pride in not missing a game his first three seasons in the league. This season he has missed the most time of his career because of injury. First, he missed 15 games because of a left knee injury and an illness in December and January, and now the wrist injury, which will keep him out at least until early March. Friday was his 19th game missed this season.
“Karl is a guy who’s competitive and a guy who wants to play and wants to be out there with his teammates,” Saunders said. “But he understands [what’s best].”
The injury will delay the development of the new-look Wolves with Towns as the focal point of the offense alongside friend and point guard D’Angelo Russell.
“He’s a huge part of what we do,” Saunders said. “His ability to score inside, score outside, we’ve looked forward to him and D’Angelo getting to share the court together as we continue to build and continue to work toward our ultimate goal. We saw that’s not going to happen these next couple of weeks here.”
But Saunders said this time without Towns will still be helpful from an evaluation standpoint, since there are so many new players the Wolves have to integrate. Naz Reid started at center for Towns on Friday against Boston.
Towns also will miss the Wolves’ game in Miami next week against former teammate and antagonist Jimmy Butler, who didn’t play when the teams first met in October.
Laying in wait
It has been a long wait for forward Jake Layman to return to the court.
Layman has been out more than three months because of a torn ligament in his toe. But this week, he was cleared to participate in practice and the Wolves will re-evaluate him next week to gauge when he can play again.
Layman has been out since suffering the injury Nov. 18 in Utah. Layman said the injury was frustrating for him to handle at first, but he couldn’t let the frustration affect him too much.
“I realized I can’t just sulk about it,” Layman said. “I have to make the best of my situation, and I just listened to what the trainers said. I did all my rehab and did all my workouts, and I think I’m back sooner than some people thought I would be.”
Layman had been doing some individual work before the All-Star break and said the biggest obstacle then was being able to push off on the toe. But that has become easier of late.
“They were very vocal with me about how long the process would take with this,” Layman said. “The main part was just having that ligament heal. That was probably the longest part.”