SALT LAKE CITY — Karl-Anthony Towns re-entered the Timberwolves' 116-111 victory over Utah on Saturday night despite falling on hard on his left wrist with just over 5 minutes remaining. That's the same wrist Towns fractured last season, causing him to miss the final 12 games.
He admitted last year he played for a while despite the wrist being broken — and of concern Saturday, Towns said his wrist was still feeling "pretty sore."
Towns said he came back in primarily to serve as a decoy and be there for his teammates.
"I couldn't catch anything," Towns said. "I was really there more just to be a distraction on the court. I just was there in case my team needed me."
Towns didn't have any update on the long-term prognosis of the wrist with coach Ryan Saunders saying the Wolves will hope to know more about it prior to Sunday's game against the Lakers.
"I didn't want to just quit the game and go get X-rays and stuff," Towns said. "I wanted to be available in case my team needed me, and just be out there cheering them on. I did what I had to do."
So while it appeared initially that Towns' return was a good sign, there could be more to come on his status going forward.
"I'm going to just stay positive," Towns said. "It's only right I hurt my wrist in 2020."
Twice, that is.
Edwards, Culver shine
Two of the Wolves' best players on Saturday night were barely on the floor when the game was on the line.
Both Jarrett Culver and Anthony Edwards had played well throughout the night, but in an example of the kind of depth coach Ryan Saunders has to juggle, neither was on the floor — except for one key defensive possession for Culver — in the final minutes of their win.
Edwards had 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting while Culver was an efficient 5-for-7 for 14 points.
"I said it in training camp that I want to have tough decisions to be made and those guys are making it tough on me," Saunders said. "Which is a good thing because that means they're all doing a lot of positive things when they're out there in those minutes."
Edwards sparked the Wolves offensive in the first half and was driving to the hoop and hitting shots from the outside.
"I feel like I'm just going to take what the defense gives me," Edwards said. "If they back up, I'm going to shoot the three — I don't really care. If they press up, I'm going to get to the rim or find my open teammate. I'm just going to take what they give me."
Culver has yet to play a bad game, three preseason games included, in his second season. Culver has shown improvement on both ends of the floor and Saunders trusted him enough to insert him for defensive purposes with the Wolves clinging to a 114-11 lead with 4.2 seconds left. Culver switched onto Donovan Mitchell, who was likely Utah's primary target on the play and helped force a five-second call.
"For all us guards, I feel like everybody's playing great and I do feel like we feed off each other's energy," Culver said. "And that's a great feeling to have as a team when you see everyone coming together and you see one person playing hard, you feed off of that."
The Wolves went with Towns, D'Angelo Russell, Ricky Rubio, Josh Okogie and Malik Beasley on the floor late. When Towns got hurt, Naz Reid — who also briefly had to depart because of injury Saturday — came in in his place.