SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – The Timberwolves didn't have Karl-Anthony Towns available for Monday's game against the Kings, as the team rested Towns for what it termed "injury management" of Towns' right calf strain.

Towns has played in two games, the first two he played since late November, but the Wolves were taking a cautious approach in letting Towns get extra rest ahead of Wednesday's game at Phoenix.

"This is part of the return-to-play protocols that go with coming back from a 50-game absence. Pretty standard operating procedure right now around the league," coach Chris Finch said. "We'll be without him, but we're kind of used to that. We'll certainly miss him. He's been pretty impactful the last two games."

It didn't take long for Towns to leave his mark upon his return to the lineup. On Wednesday, he hit a pair of free throws to beat the Hawks. Then on Sunday, Towns hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 9.9 seconds remaining to lift the Wolves over the Warriors.

The Wolves only have one back-to-back set of games the rest of the season, and it's their final two games against the Spurs on April 8 and the Pelicans on April 9. Finch said he didn't know if Towns would be available then.

Anthony Edwards was able to play on against the Kings a day after returning from a three-game absence because of a sprained right ankle.

Coming back motivated

After Sunday's victory at Golden State, Finch revealed that center Rudy Gobert told him and the team something after the All-Star break: that when the team came back, Gobert was going to be better, more like the Gobert they knew in Utah.

"He told us to expect more from him coming out of the All-Star break," Finch said. "He knew he hadn't performed up to his standard and expectations. I think right now the team around him is really, really kind of figuring out a way to value him offensively and that's keeping him engaged as well."

Gobert joked that the biggest thing he did over the break was that he "got some sun."

He said it has taken him awhile to adjust to life on the Wolves, but that has started to happen recently.

"For me, it's always a slow start," Gobert said. "I've had time to just get comfortable in the situation, and also raise my level. Obviously also we had a lot of injuries throughout the season. But I'm really proud of the way everyone stayed with it. The resiliency that we've shown these last few months, just got KAT back, just got Ant back. So all the work that we put in, I feel like it's finally starting to pay off on the court."

The Wolves have started to see some of the benefits of having two big men on the floor at all times with Towns back in the fold. While they struggled defensively against Atlanta, they still were able to generate enough offense to win. Then they turned up the volume on the defensive end against the Warriors when the offense slowed down.

Gobert is glad the team hasn't shied away from its identity recently.

"That's why the team has been built that way — to be ourselves, to be unique," Gobert said. "We look at the height and they say [we're] big, but we've got bigs that can move and we've got bigs that can shoot better than most guards. It's a unique ability that we have both on offense and defense. It's an opportunity for us to really be unique."