For the first time this season, Karl-Anthony Towns missed a game because of injury Wednesday.
Originally listed as questionable because of a left knee sprain, the All-Star center was ruled out by Wolves coach Ryan Saunders shortly before the Wolves played host to the New Orleans Pelicans at Target Center.
Towns, who appeared to be gingerly walking onto the court before Tuesday’s practice, seemed to be moving better upon arrival at Target Center on Wednesday night.
Saunders didn’t provide much in the way of a prognosis for Towns, saying only that he was “day to day.”
“You want to have a healthy Karl-Anthony Towns,” Saunders said. “So he won’t be playing [Wednesday]”
Towns took a hard fall in the Wolves’ 124-117 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Friday. Driving for a dunk, Towns was fouled by Montrezl Harrell and came down hard on his left leg. Towns finished the game.
Gorgui Dieng started in Towns’ place and scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
This is the third game Towns has missed this season, the first two coming when he served a two-game suspension for an on-court tussle in November. The Wolves split those games.
If Towns isn’t badly hurt, the decision to rest him means he’d have a full week off between games; Wednesday was the Wolves’ first game since playing in Los Angeles, and the Wolves don’t play again until Friday in Denver.
On Sunday, every player in the NBA became available to be traded, and one name has surfaced in connection with the Wolves — Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr.
SNY out of New York reported the Wolves were one of multiple teams interested in trading for the guard who came to New York in the trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas. Smith, the ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft, has played in 18 games and is averaging only 5.6 points, down from 14.7 a season ago.
The Wolves have been doing their due diligence on a lot of potential trade targets, with league sources saying the Wolves are in the market for a point guard. But who that might be and what shape that trade will take is up in the air.
The Wolves held their annual trip to a local Target and hosted a shopping spree for local children, in partnership with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities.
Funding and gifts for the spree were provided by the Roger and Nancy McCabe Foundation along with the Wolves, Target, TCL and Fitbit.
Each player was paired with a child, who was given a $500 shopping spree along with other gifts at a Target in St. Louis Park. It’s one of the off-court highlights each year for the Wolves organization.
“It’s time for giving, time to be unselfish and look out for others,” forward Andrew Wiggins said. “Just being here, being able to help out other people who aren’t as fortunate as us or can’t get the certain things we can get, this is a time we can give it to them. To see the smile on their faces, getting whatever they want, that’s what makes this whole thing worth it.”
Robert Covington was not in the starting lineup Wednesday, but he entered the game with 7:35 left in the first quarter. After the game, Saunders said Covington didn’t start because he was “late for something.”
“Details matter to this team,” Saunders said. “And the habits matter. It was handled privately.”
Covington said he understood.
“I take ownership for what happened, being late,” he said. “The next man stepped up. There’s consequences, and you have to pay for it.”
He scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 30 minutes.