On Saturday, Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell sat out because of a scheduled rest day, so it was a little bit of a surprise when Russell appeared on the injury report and then didn't play against Golden State because of a right quad contusion.
On Monday, coach Ryan Saunders said Russell's contusion was a result of an injury suffered in Friday's game against Atlanta.
In the first quarter of that game, Russell came up gimpy after a collision near mid-court, but he was able to play through it. Saunders said the Wolves had to notify the league in advance of Russell's planned rest day Saturday on the tail-end of a back-to-back set of games. That's why Russell was listed as out because of rest Saturday because it was scheduled well in advance. Over the past few days, Russell's quad contusion started swelling, Saunders said, and that ultimately kept Russell out of Monday's game and why Russell appeared on the injury report because of the quad contusion.
"With the planned rest, that's something you've got to let the league know early, so that was a while back, and then he suffered a quad contusion in the Atlanta game, so there was some swelling," Saunders said.
Ricky Rubio got the start, like Saturday with Russell out.
Saunders added he didn't have an update on when Karl-Anthony Towns and Juancho Hernangomez, both out under the NBA's COVID protocols, may return to the team.
Wishing Wiggins well
Saunders has the reputation for building strong relationships with his players, and when players move on from the organization, Saunders said it can change those relationships. But one player Saunders will always keep tabs on and check in on is Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins faced his old team and Saunders for the first time Monday night since the Wolves traded him at the deadline last February.
"I always follow him, always want to check in," Saunders said. "He's got an unbelievable family, and we have two kids that are close to the same age, so I know, social media-wise, my wife and his [girlfriend Mychal Johnson] still see how the kids are doing, things like that."
Wiggins was averaging 17.4 points per game entering Monday and Saunders said the Warriors have Wiggins in a "great role" that is helping to maximize his talents.
"Some of the things that he's been able to show here are things that will continue to carry over years with guys like [Stephen Curry], guys like Draymond [Green] -- his ability to be active defensively, get deflections, turn defense into offense," Saunders said. "They've been getting him in the post a little bit more too."
Saunders said he is rooting for Wiggins each night he takes the floor, so long as it's not against the Wolves.
"I'll always have a lot of love for 'Wigg' and just what he was able to do in Minnesota," Saunders said.
A different mind-set
Jarred Vanderbilt went from not getting minutes at the start of the season to earning starters' minutes. Vanderbilt has made his mark thanks to his aggression, but the more minutes he plays, the greater chance there is that aggression can turn into fouls.
"You want to be available at the end of games as opposed to when I'm coming in playing spot minutes, I can pretty much use all six [fouls]," Vanderbilt said. "It is a different game when you are starting, but I try not to let that take away from my aggression and how I play."