The Minnesota Timberwolves could get a boost to their playoff hopes on Wednesday as standouts Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards might return to the lineup to face the visiting Atlanta Hawks.
Edwards, who averages 24.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists, hurt his right ankle against the Chicago Bulls on Friday and had to be helped off the court. He missed the past two games.
Towns has been out since late November with a right calf strain, and he was re-injured while rehabbing in January. Towns is averaging 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 21 games this season.
Minnesota coach Chris Finch downplayed the notion that both players would return on Wednesday.
“They’re both in evaluation periods and they’re definitely on separate timelines,” he told WCCO-AM in Minneapolis. “Whether those timelines end up coming together at the same point, I’m not sure. They’re very different.”
Regarding Edwards, Finch said, “Ant always wants to play. He never thinks he’s hurt, so hopefully it is feeling better, which he says it is. But in terms of pain tolerance, range of movement, stability, all those things, I think we’re trying to figure out where that really is with him.”
The team listed both players as questionable on the injury report filed Tuesday. Towns previously had been listed as out.
The Timberwolves won the first meeting of the season against Atlanta 136-115 on March 13. Atlanta’s Trae Young had 41 points, his third game with 40-plus points in this campaign. Edwards put up 32 points for Minnesota.
The Timberwolves dropped two of three on their just-completed road trip, closing it with a 140-134 win over the New York Knicks on Monday. After the home game against Atlanta, Minnesota heads back on the road to face the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns.
Minnesota (36-37) is tied for ninth place in the Western Conference but is only one game behind sixth-place Golden State, which occupies the final guaranteed playoff spot.
The Hawks (36-36) are coming off a 129-107 home win over the last-place Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.
All five starters scored in double figures as Atlanta scored 100-plus points for the 47th straight game, the second-longest streak in franchise history (behind a 53-game run in 1969-70) and the longest active streak in the NBA.
Atlanta is No. 8 in the East, three games behind No. 6 Brooklyn and one game ahead of No. 9 Toronto with 10 games left in the season.
“We knew we had to get the job done from the start (against Detroit),” said Atlanta’s Clint Capela, who logged 12 points and 16 rebounds. “They’re all big. We have to come up with urgency and energy, play good on defense and never get enough. There are 10 games left, and they’re going to go by quick.”
The Hawks are without reserve Jalen Johnson, who has missed three games with a left hamstring and groin sprain, and they may be missing Dejounte Murray, who sat out Tuesday due to a non-COVID illness. Bogdan Bogdanovic started in Murray’s spot and scored 18 points, hitting a team-high four 3-pointers.
Young, who put up just nine points Sunday in Atlanta’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs, scored 30 points and added 12 assists at Detroit for his 35th double-double. It was his 24th game with 30-plus points.