D’Angelo Russell ramping up ‘day by day’ as he approaches return to roster

Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said D’Angelo Russell is “day to day” as he works his way back from the arthroscopic knee surgery that’s kept him out for the last month.

Russell, Finch said, is ramping up via individual workouts and “looks good.”

“Obviously fitness levels need to come back near game shape and we’re hoping to maybe get him into some team activities weekend or early next week,” Finch said, “but that’s gonna be monitored day by day with this.”

Finch admitted the condensed schedule this season, which features a lot of games and few practices, making ramping up “a little bit” more difficult.

“But a lot of stuff we’re doing is still high intensity 5-on-0 work with coaches or that kind of stuff,” Finch said, “so it’s probably where he needs to be right now when he joins us.”

DEADLINE THOUGHTS

With Thursday’s trade deadline fast approaching and the Timberwolves becoming notorious for their aggression, it’s only natural to suspect a few players may be changing teams this week.

But Finch hasn’t addressed that possibility with his players. There hasn’t been a need.

“Just focus on the team, preparing for the games. We had four games this week, I felt everyone was locked in,” Finch said. “I’m sure there’s some anxiety floating around, particularly on a young team that maybe never has gone through this before or not gone through it enough. Whenever a team makes moves, another team wants you, too. I just effectively came in the middle of the season so I know what it’s like to be uprooted. Of course it was my choice, a little different there. But it’s human nature. We’ve got to be considerate of that. These guys are pros and and they understand what it’s all about, and some of them have gone through it before.”

LINEUP SHIFT

Finch reverted back to his standard starting lineup Monday against Oklahoma City, with Jake Layman and Jarred Vanderbilt starting the game. Josh Okogie and Jaden McDaniels were moved into the starting lineup Friday against Phoenix, but that was in an effort to slow down Suns’ star guard Devin Booker.

Finch acknowledged after that loss that the lineup jumble may have interrupted the rhythm the second unit had found in recent games.

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