D'Angelo Russell remains out, Wolves coach claims 'heavy minutes'

Minnesota has not been forthcoming about injury specifics.
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Ryan Saunders

D'Angelo Russell played six minutes in the Timberwolves' Feb. 8 game against the Dallas Mavericks before departing with left leg soreness. He had missed the game the day before due to right quad soreness. 

Now more than a week later, Russell will not play when the Wolves host the Lakers Tuesday night, with the team saying Russell will miss a third straight game with leg soreness. 

Asked Tuesday about Russell's injury, head coach Ryan Saunders chalked it up to the "heavy minutes" Russell has been playing, according to Wolves reporter Dane Moore

Saying Russell has played heavy minutes simply doesn't hold up. Russell has played in just 19 of Minnesota's 27 games and he's averaging 29.2 minutes per game which ranks tied for 101st in the NBA. 

He's played more than 35 minutes just three times this season, and he ranks 152nd in the NBA in total minutes played. 

So what's going on with Russell's legs? The Wolves are not providing much information, and as Moore reported, they are "continuing to gather information." 

At this point the Russell injury doesn't appear to be serious since the Wolves are labeling it as leg soreness, but that's what everyone thought last season when Towns was listed as questionable for a month straight only to never suit up and take the court. 

A questionable tag on the injury report leads fans to believe there's a chance a player can play, but labeling a player questionable for a month straight is misleading, especially when teammate Jarrett Culver last January said the team "kind of knew when he got hurt that he was going to be out for a while."

Towns suffered a sprained knee Dec. 13, 2019 and didn't return to play until Jan. 17, 2020, even though he was tagged questionable in 12 of the 14 games he missed. 

With Russell, Wolves fans are once again left wondering what's going on. 

Minnesota gave up Andrew Wiggins and a top-three protected 2021 first-round pick to get Russell. He was supposed to be the star sidekick for franchise player Karl-Anthony Towns, who is finally health again after missing most of last season with a wrist injury and missing significant time this season with another wrist injury and a bout with COVID-19.

Towns and Russell have played together in just five games in Minnesota. For perspective, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have already played in more games together with the Nets and Harden was just traded to Brooklyn just over a month ago. 

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