The Timberwolves are poised to get a major boost for the final playoff push on Wednesday: Karl-Anthony Towns is back.
After missing 51 consecutive games with a Grade 3 calf strain, Towns is set to return to the court for Minnesota’s game on Wednesday against the Hawks, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Barring any setbacks in pregame warmups, the three-time All-Star will make his first appearance since Nov. 28.
Towns played in just 21 games this season before suffering the calf injury during a game against the Wizards in late November. Prior to his absence, the 27-year-old center was averaging 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game, while shooting 50.5% from the floor and 32.5% from beyond the arc.
Minnesota will get Towns back at an opportune time for the stretch run. After a win on Sunday over the Knicks, the Timberwolves (36–37) moved into ninth place in the crowded Western Conference standings, but are just one game back of the Warriors (37–36) for the No. 6 seed, which would allow them to avoid competing in the play-in tournament.
Conversely, Minnesota is just a 1/2 game up on the Lakers (35–37) from missing out on the playoffs entirely with just nine regular-season games remaining.