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Karl-Anthony Towns starting vs. Clippers after disputing report about return from COVID-19

Liz Roscher
·2-min read

Karl-Anthony Towns will indeed start Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers after missing the last 13 games with COVID-19, the Minnesota Timberwolves announced.

The Athletic's Sham's Charnia reported Towns was expected to return Wednesday afternoon, but it wasn't long before the All-Star was disputing the report. The Timberwolves center responded that the status update was "news to me" and that he planned to re-evaulate his condition after participating in shootaround.

Apparently, Towns felt good enough at shootaround to start, though we'll see how many minutes he ends up playing.

Towns announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 15 and hasn't played a game since. He lost his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, to COVID-19 in April, and has lost six other family members to the virus.

Timberwolves helping Towns prepare for game action

It's been a long road back, and the Timberwolves have been very careful with Towns' preparation. They didn't want to rush him back, so Towns has been taking advantage of the extra gym time he gets when the team is on the road.

“He’s been partaking in all of that. He’s really been able to push himself,” Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. “Our medical group has been able to try to simulate certain stints during a game, the stopping and going, what that might feel like with his lungs.”

It's Towns' lungs that are the biggest issue. Since COVID-19 affects the lungs and can make it difficult to breathe, the Timberwolves have made sure to focus on Towns' lung capacity. However, Saunders knows that until Towns actually gets into a game, they won't know how his lungs respond.

“Nothing can simulate a game environment like a game,” Saunders said. “Because there’s a lot of bumping, it’s physical and you can’t always simulate it with coaches, even as in shape as our coaches feel they are, they aren’t able to simulate what he’d see against a [Jonas] Valanciunas or a lot of bigger guys we’ve been facing.”

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - DECEMBER 23: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves wears a headset as he does an interview after the season opening game against the Detroit Pistons at Target Center on December 23, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves defeated the Pistons 111-101. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Karl-Anthony Towns hasn't played in almost a month after being diagnosed with COVID-19. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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