The injury bug continues to hit Minnesota hard.
The Timberwolves just got Karl-Anthony Towns back from a COVID-19 absence, and now they will be without their starting point guard for at least a month because he “will undergo arthroscopic surgery tomorrow to remove a loose body from the left knee,” the team announced. This story was broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and quickly confirmed by the team.
Minnesota traded for Russell at the deadline last season to both appease Karl-Anthony Towns — he and Russell are good friends — and provide a dangerous pick-and-roll tandem to be the heart of the Minnesota offense. However, the tandem has played in a total of five games together due to health issues.
The knee issue could help explain the step back in Russell’s game this season. He’s missed four of the last five Timberwolves games and played less than six minutes in the one where he did try to play. Russell is averaging 19.3 points and 5.1 assists a game as the Timberwolves’ starting point guard, but his overall efficiency has dropped off. Towns remains the best player on the Timberwolves, but Malik Beasley has been the team’s second best player this season, not Russell.
With Russell out, expect to see a lot more Ricky Rubio in Minnesota.
At 7-20, the Timberwolves have the worst record in the NBA, and they owe their first-round draft pick in the upcoming draft (top-three protected) to Golden State — as part of the trade to get Russell to Minnesota.