A statement win Saturday was quickly drowned out by a difficult loss Sunday — and it had nothing to do with the game against the Lakers.
A visit to a hand specialist in Los Angeles on Sunday revealed Karl-Anthony Towns dislocated his left wrist when he fell hard on his hand in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s win over Utah.
Towns re-entered the game minutes later and helped Minnesota secure the victory, but admitted after the game that the wrist was “pretty sore.”
The exact injury — a perilunate subluxation — won’t require surgery, but the Wolves said Towns will “be further evaluated weekly as he undergoes treatment to return to play.”
“There is no definitive timetable,” Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said. “He’ll be out tonight, and then evaluated on a weekly basis. But there are positives, at least in the short term, to what we’ve been able to gather in terms of information.”
Plenty of negatives, too. Towns was the Wolves’ leader on both ends of the floor through two games. He was his normal spectacular self offensively, but also the anchor of what’d been a surprisingly strong defense.
“It’s only right I hurt my wrist in 2020,” Towns said Saturday. “(Stuff) just goes sideways for me in 2020. Keep it positive.”.
Towns missed the final 12 games last season after breaking the same left wrist. Minnesota was not good in that stretch, as has always been the case in the few occurrences in which Towns has missed time. The Wolves hope they’ve built up the talent base where missing Towns doesn’t mean instant losses.
D’Angelo Russell can carry the scoring load, Anthony Edwards has been special, Jarrett Culver is much improved, Ricky Rubio is a starter-level guard and Malik Beasley is a producer. The Wolves theoretically have enough to keep the ship upright while its leader is out. Naz Reid started in Towns’ place Sunday.
“We like how competitive our group has been, and with that, guys are in positions to have opportunities to step up, not only in Karl’s absence, but also in the role in that Karl plays,” Saunders said. “Providing an offensive punch, but also on the defensive end, he’s been really good for us, so we need other guys to fill those roles. You don’t replace Karl-Anthony Towns with one individual. You do that with a team effort. It’s the same thing we also say when it comes to guarding great players — do everything as a team, and that’s what this group has been doing.”