Naz Reid continued to play even after he fell hard on his left wrist in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's loss to the Suns in Phoenix. The Timberwolves backup center and power forward even shot the two free throws he earned after he tried to dunk on Suns center Bismack Biyombo.
But Reid kept grabbing at his wrist the rest of the night, and it turns out his injury was significant after all. He suffered a fracture of one of the small bones in his left wrist and is set to miss an indefinite amount of time, the team said in a statement. However, ESPN reported Reid will have surgery and will miss approximately six weeks. That would make it possible for Reid to return some time in the Western Conference playoffs should the team make a run.
"He's having an amazing season for us," coach Chris Finch said. "He's upset he can't help us down the stretch here. We're gutted for him, but without him we're not in this position. We told him that. It's part of the deal and we got to find a way to fill the void. But he was huge for us."
The Timberwolves issued a press release Friday saying an MRI "revealed a left scaphoid fracture. He will be out indefinitely and further updates to his progress will be provided when available."
Reid was having his best year as an NBA player and was in the middle of one of his best stretches in his four-year career.
Even with Karl-Anthony Towns rejoining the lineup alongside Rudy Gobert, Reid has continued to carve his role in a contract year. He is averaging a career best 11.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, and over the past eight games he has averaged 18.1 points.
Finch said Reid improved the most in his emotional maturity and in the way he handled toggling positions between power forward and center along with fluctuating minutes that came behind Towns and Gobert.
"Those type of things can derail guys," Finch said. "He did a really good job of staying focused and ready and being able to deliver whatever it was that we needed."
The Wolves will likely stagger the minutes Towns and Gobert play to have one of them playing center at almost all times, Finch said. Reid's absence may also mean an increase in minutes for Luka Garza or Nate Knight along with players like Jaden McDaniels playing more at power forward.
Reid was an undrafted free agent out of LSU and signed with the Wolves in the summer of 2019. He has shown steady improvement as he has reshaped his game and his body to play at an NBA level, and he's set to hit unrestricted free agency at the highest point in his career despite the injury.
One of the intriguing parts of the upcoming offseason will be just what will happen with Reid. Given the Wolves have Gobert and Towns, would they want to spend the money necessary to re-sign Reid, who could command upwards of $10 million per year or more? Would Reid want to come back to the Wolves or seek more minutes and opportunity elsewhere?
Reid has fans around the league. Lakers forward LeBron James tweeted out his admiration of Reid during a recent game against the Clippers while Suns coach Monty Williams said before Wednesday's game Reid could be a starter on some teams in the NBA, if not most of them."