Karl-Anthony Towns wanted to play again. Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders would like to have Towns back in the lineup again on a regular basis.
As Towns neared a return after contracting coronavirus last month during the team's recent road trip, all involved had to make sure they weren't rushing Towns back to the floor too soon.
But they decided Wednesday would be the day, and Towns was back in the starting lineup against the Clippers at Target Center.
Towns came into Wednesday as a game-time decision but went through warmups and was comfortable playing. He wound up with a double-double in the 119-112 loss, with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and played 31 minutes.
Recently, Saunders said how Towns' lungs responded to strenuous activity was one of the last hurdles he would have to clear before playing.
The Wolves also had to make sure they weren't exerting Towns too much, even if he wanted to push the limit. Saunders said Towns was likely going to be on a minutes restriction.
"Karl, I've been through it before with him," Saunders said. "When you get out there, even though he's on a minutes restriction, he's firing and he wants to be ready to go so he can give everything he has. With that in mind, we want to make sure he's in a good place. He has been through a ton."
Towns said multiple family members have died of COVID-19, including his mother, Jacqueline. Earlier Wednesday, Towns responded to a report on Twitter that said he was expected to play Wednesday by tweeting: "This is news to me! Last time I checked, I was gonna go through shootaround and see how I feel. Underlying conditions and Covid don't mix well."
Towns shared his family's struggles throughout the spring and summer on social media in an effort to warn others about the virus' severity. Saunders said Towns should be lauded for being as open as he was during that time.
"Many people experience grief and loss, and you hear it, but until you live it, you don't understand that grief is not linear," Saunders said. "Everybody goes through ups and downs. Karl has done such an unbelievable job, I feel, in managing any type of low moments that he may have so that he can be a light to other people. I think that's something that should be talked about more."
Beasley mostly silent
Malik Beasley scored 21 points one day after he was sentenced to three years probation and 120 days in a workhouse or home monitoring for threats of violence he made against a couple and their daughter for an incident outside his home in September.
The NBA is still reviewing the incident for potential discipline. Beasley was asked how he felt about his case now that it was resolved and he said, "No comment."
When asked what he would say to fans concerned about the team's long-term commitment to him (Beasley signed a four-year, $60 million deal after he was charged) Beasley credited the team and President Gersson Rosas with sticking by him.
"Gersson and Coach and the team have done a great job of being by my side and making sure my head is straight, that I'm better as a person," Beasley said. "I hold myself accountable as well. I'm thankful to be playing. Thankful to be here with the team. I count my blessings every day."
When asked what he learned throughout the past few months, Beasley said, "No comment."
• D'Angelo Russell missed Wednesday's game because of left leg soreness that caused him to exit Monday's game against Dallas early. Russell was also playing through a right quad contusion before suffering the left leg injury. Saunders said Russell's status was considered "day to day."
• The Iowa Wolves were fined $10,000 and multiple players will miss the team's next two games in the G-League Orlando bubble for violations of the league's health and safety protocols.
Charlie Brown, Ashton Hagans, Jaylen Johnson, Ade Murkey and Dakari Tucker will miss the next two games — and will forfeit the pay associated with those games — for violations of the league's protocols.