The Wolves' 'questionable' approach to Karl-Anthony Towns' injury status

The big man has missed an entire month and little has been said about his injury.
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Karl-Anthony Towns

It's been exactly one month since Karl-Anthony Towns suited up and played for the Wolves. His last game, Dec. 13 against the Clippers, resulted in the big man playing a routine 35 minutes and scoring 39 points with 12 rebounds. 

There didn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary in that game, yet Towns, at some point during the game, suffered a left knee sprain that has kept him out ever since. 

What's irked fans is that Towns has been listed as questionable – an injury status that suggests there's a chance he can play – in 12 of the last 14 games, including Monday's contest with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  

  • Dec. 18 - questionable (ruled out before the game)
  • Dec. 20 - ruled out the day before the game
  • Dec. 21 - questionable (ruled out before the game)
  • Dec. 23 - questionable (ruled out before the game)
  • Dec. 26 - questionable (ruled out before the game)
  • Dec. 28 - questionable (ruled out before the game)
  • Dec. 30 - questionable (ruled out before the game)
  • Jan. 1 - ruled out the day before the game
  • Jan. 2 - questionable (ruled out before the game)
  • Jan. 5 - questionable (ruled out before the game)
  • Jan. 7 - questionable (ruled out before the game)
  • Jan. 9 - questionable (ruled out before the game)
  • Jan. 11 - questionable (ruled out before the game)
  • Jan. 13 - questionable (ruled out, according to reports)

The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski is reporting that Towns is strictly out Monday night because of an illness, not the knee injury, adding that Towns' return is "imminent." But it's the first time in 14 games that there appears to be some clarity about Towns.

A month of questionable labels has led to the belief that Towns' injury wasn't nearly as severe as a month on the shelf indicates it is otherwise, thus serving as a breeding ground for frustration as fans can't figure out why  frustration from fans who can't figure out what the hell is going on, nor get an honest answer from the Wolves.  

Reports like Krawczynski have made it clear that Towns' chances of playing in the past 12-13 games have been very unlikely, but Minnesota has continued to push the questionable status. 

"This is ridiculous and an abuse of the nba injury rules," a fan tweeted Saturday. "It’s clear they want to keep the fans in the dark about an injury that should have been measured in months at the outset. It’s a disservice to the fans buying tickets to the game."

That same fan sent a tweet to the Timberwolves PR account on Sunday after learning that Towns was again listed as questionable for Monday's game with OKC. 

Another layer of drama might've developed Monday when head coach Ryan Saunders and rookie Jarrett Culver gave differing answers about how long they thought Towns would be out when he was first injured Dec. 13. 

"What might look early on as a couple games, he didn't really respond early and we want these guys, when they get out there and they're on the court, that they're fully healthy because he's a huge part of our future," said Saunders. 

Culver's response: "We kind of knew when he got hurt that he was going to be out for a while." 

Here's the video proof, from KSTP's Darren Wolfson. 

Frustrated or not, the Wolves are soon to get Towns back and find themselves two games out of a playoff spot despite being eight games under .500 (15-23). 

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